A 2020 insider trading investigation involving Republican Senator Richard Burr is being reexamined after new evidence from the FBI was recently unsealed.
What Happened: Burr, who served as the chair of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2020, had liquidated a bulk of equity holdings owned by him and his wife in 2020 before the market downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burr allegedly traded the stocks based on nonpublic information but was ultimately not charged with breaking any laws.
However, the unsealing of a warrant affidavit and other related records at the behest of a court order following a lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Times shows that the Department of Justice had probable cause to believe Burr engaged in insider trading and committed securities fraud, CNBC reported.
The document includes a timeline of calls and texts between the senator and a redacted name believed to be a potential source of confidential information.
Despite Burr’s claims to the contrary, investigators said that in January and early February he had access to classified intelligence reports on the potential outbreak of COVID in the U.S. and the country’s under-preparedness.
On Feb. 13, 2020, Burr sold more than 95% of the holdings in his individual retirement account. As a result, the equities’ share of his portfolio dropped from 83% to 3%, stated the report, citing investigators.
According to CNN, citing the FBI affidavit, about six days after Burr’s sold the majority of his equity, the market began a downtrend, potentially saving him $87,000 from estimated losses and fetching him a profit of $164,000 on the “well-timed” stock sale.