Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez demanded on Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission investigate “possible illegal insider trading” involving investor Carl Icahn. The billionaire sold $30 million worth of stock in an industrial company a week before President Trump announced potential tariffs on imported steel.
In a letter to SEC chairman Jay Clayton that was exclusively obtained by Cheddar, Rep. Gutierrez states Icahn’s decision to sell shares in the Manitowoc Co. so close to Trump’s announcement is “highly suspicious,” and the friendly relationship between Trump and Icahn “adds to the appearance of wrongdoing.”
“If this was a member of Congress that had done exactly the same thing...I’m sure there’d be an indictment,” the Democratic congressman told Cheddar in an exclusive interview Thursday.
Icahn formerly served as a special advisor to Trump. In late February, he sold $31.3 million of shares in Manitowoc at about $32 to $34 each. But because the company, which makes construction cranes, relies on steel for its products, its stock price plummeted almost 6 percent when President Trump announced last week that he would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports.
Shares of Manitowoc closed Wednesday at $28.16, about 11 percent lower than Icahn’s lowest selling price.
Trump formalized his decision on tariffs Thursday afternoon.
In a statement responding to the allegation, Icahn said he reduced his position in Manitowoc “for legitimate investment reasons having nothing to do with that announcement.”