The Justice Department is probing a series of stock trades made by Senator Richard Burr (R., N.C.) in the weeks prior to the outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S., CNN reported on Sunday.
The probe is being coordinated with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the FBI has also contacted Burr with regard to the investigation. Earlier in March, Burr requested that the Senate Ethics Committee look into the trades.
“The law is clear that any American — including a Senator — may participate in the stock market based on public information, as Senator Burr did,” Amy Fisher, a lawyer for Burr, told CNN. “When this issue arose, Senator Burr immediately asked the Senate Ethics Committee to conduct a complete review, and he will cooperate with that review as well as any other appropriate inquiry.”
Burr sold a sizable portion of his stocks, worth between $628,000 to $1.7 million in total, on February 13 after receiving a classified briefing on the coronavirus in January. The trades were reported in line with the STOCK Act of 2012, intended to prevent congress members from conducting insider trading. Burr has denied making the trades based on inside information, and on March 20 said he had “relied solely on public news reports” in making the trades.