Senators press for answers on Equifax executives who sold stock after breach

Senators press for answers on Equifax executives who sold stock after breach
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

The Senate Finance Committee wants answers from Equifax on when three of its executives, who sold almost $2 million in stock, learned of a massive cybersecurity breach the company experienced in July.

The sale has raised eyebrows among some observers who are concerned about potential insider trading violations.

Committee leaders Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchFinance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reform MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Finance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (D-Ore.) pressed Equifax CEO Richard Smith for details on the scope of the breach in which the data of 143 million Americans was compromised, who is affected by it and actions Equifax is taking to mitigate its impacts.

Hatch and Wyden then pressed for specifics on when three executives were notified of the cyberattack.

Equifax Chief Financial Officer John Gamble and president of U.S. information solutions Joseph Loughran collectively sold shares and exercised stock options totaling approximately $1.5 million on Aug. 1. Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions, sold approximately $250,000 worth of stock on Aug. 2. Details of the hack, which occurred on July 29, were not yet made public at that time.

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The sales were not a part of the trio’s prescheduled trading plans that insiders often use when buying and selling equity.

Equifax has said that Gamble, Loughran and Ploder were not notified of the breach when they opted to sell shares and exercise options.

The timing has raised suspicion among some skeptics. When asked by The Hill on Friday if they would investigate the matter for potential insider trading, the Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment.

Hatch and Wyden join Senate Commerce Committee leaders, Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAviation panel recommends Trump roll back safety rules Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify MORE (R-S.D.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDem asks airlines to cap airfares ahead of Hurricane Maria Trump encourages Rick Scott to run for Senate Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule MORE (D-Fla.) along with Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Equifax suffered hack months earlier than the date it disclosed Spicer says he wore disguise while traveling to Emmys appearance MORE (D-Hawaii) who penned letters to Equifax demanding more answers on the hack. Both the House Energy and Commerce and Financial Services committees have also announced hearings to examine the breach further.