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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 HatchBottom line The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Press: Forget bipartisanship — it's dead! MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenBad jobs report amplifies GOP cries to end 0 benefits boost Putting a price on privacy: Ending police data purchases Overnight Health Care: Biden sets goal of at least one shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4 | White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states 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 ThuneTop female GOP senator compares Cheney ousting to 'cancel culture' GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women MORE (R-S.D.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonChina fires back after NASA criticism of rocket debris reentry The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns NASA criticizes China after rocket debris lands in Indian Ocean MORE (D-Fla.) along with Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDemocrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan Democrats introduce bill to give hotels targeted relief Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap 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.