At 78, Icahn shows little sign of easing into a sedentary lifestyle, let alone abating his role as a pre-eminent shareholder activist.
In the past year, Icahn's been a high-profile troublemaker at several companies: fighting a buyout of Dell Computer; lobbying Apple to boost stock repurchases; and pummeling
While the brash billionaire's 53-year
But in denying a Wall
Icahn declined an interview with USA TODAY, but in a Monday e-mail statement, he denied allegations that he had passed on stock tips to Walters, who the Journal said passed on information to Mickelson.
"We are always very careful to observe all requirements in all of our activities," Icahn said. "We believe that making inflammatory and speculative statements, especially when we have had an unblemished record for 50 years, is completely irresponsible on the part of
Both Walters -- an acquaintance of Icahn -- and Mickelson -- who says he has never met the former corporate raider -- have denied any wrongdoing.
According to the Journal, the insider-trading probe stems from stock trades involving several companies, including
Icahn amassed a 9% stake in Clorox in 2011 before making a
"The government has to show that there was a breach of fiduciary duty -- and Icahn wasn't a fiduciary or an insider at Clorox," says law professor
Ahead of Icahn's bid, there was heavy trading in Clorox stock options.
Still, those who had inside information and bought Clorox calls ahead of Icahn's takeover bid would have been taking a major risk. "You're leaving a large footprint, and it's very likely you'll get caught," Wilkinson says.
Coffee notes that Icahn has always been "exceedingly careful" in his business dealings. "I've watched him for 45 years," Coffee says. "It would be a dramatic departure for him to cross a legal line. He's constantly pushed the envelope, but he always stays within the boundaries of the law."
Last month, Icahn chided investment titan
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