Carl Icahn denies wrongdoing after selling $31 million in steel-related stock before Trump’s tariff announcement

  • Investor Carl Icahn, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, denied having any knowledge of new steel and aluminium tariffs prior to their announcement.
  • Icahn sold roughly $US31 million worth of crane manufacturer Manitowoc’s stock in February, shortly before the announcement of new tariffs on steel.
  • Manitowoc uses steel as an input for its cranes.

Investing legend Carl Icahn denied having any knowledge of President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium after questions were raised about Icahn’s sale of a steel-related stock before the announcement.

Icahn, who has advised Trump, said the sale of more than 1 million shares of crane manufacturer Manitowoc was not connected to the tariffs. The company uses steel as a primary input for its products.

“We don’t generally comment on rumours, but the recent media speculation regarding our sale of Manitowoc stock calls for a response. We state for the record: Any suggestion that we had prior knowledge of the Trump administration’s announcement of new tariffs on steel imports is categorically untrue,” Icahn said in a statement.

The denial comes after reports that highlighted Icahn’s sale of shares worth around $US31 million, or one-third of his total stake in the company, between February 12 and February 22. Manitowoc’s stock fell sharply both after the Commerce Department recommended the tariffs on February 16 and when Trump announced the move on Thursday.

Icahn said the sale was done in the normal course of business.

“We reduced our position in Manitowoc for legitimate investment reasons having nothing to do with that announcement,” he said.

On Wednesday, the company was trading down just over 2% at $US27.63 a share. That was down from the company’s all-time high of $US43.59 a share on January 26.

Icahn was a special adviser to the president on regulation until his resignation in August 2017.