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 HatchProminent conservative passes on Utah Senate bid Republicans offer this impossible choice: Tax cuts or senior care Senate GOP running out of options to stop Moore MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico Photos of the Week: Nov. 13-17 Senate panel approves GOP tax plan 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 ThuneSenate panel approves GOP tax plan Republicans see rising Dem odds in Alabama Overnight Health Care: Nearly 1.5M sign up for ObamaCare so far | Schumer says Dems won't back ObamaCare deal if it's tied to tax bill | House passes fix to measure letting Pentagon approve medical treatments MORE (R-S.D.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonReport: FCC chair to push for complete repeal of net neutrality Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  MORE (D-Fla.) along with Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzQuestions loom over Franken ethics probe 200 nations plan 2018 talks to keep Paris Agreement momentum Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  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.