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September 13, 2017 1 COMMENTS

Maine senators call for probe of Equifax stock sales following data breach

Collins photo Courtesy / MEDILL DC, FLICKR; King photo Courtesy / U.S. Naval War College, FLICKR
Collins photo Courtesy / MEDILL DC, FLICKR; King photo Courtesy / U.S. Naval War College, FLICKR
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced today they are joining 34 other U.S. senators in signing a letter asking the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the sale of more than $1.5 million in Equifax securities held by the company's high-level executives shortly after learning of a massive cybersecurity breach.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, joined a bipartisan group of U.S. senators in asking the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the sale of more than $1.5 million in Equifax securities held by the company's high-level executives shortly after learning of a massive cybersecurity breach.

The data breach affected more than 524,000 Mainers, Collins and King noted in a joint news release.

Equifax (NYSE: EFX) disclosed Sept. 7 that as many as 143 million American could be impacted by the security breach. The information accessed in the data breach primarily included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers. Equifax stated in its news release that credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, also were accessed.

Within days of Equifax's internal discovery in late July of the breach (which is believed to have occurred in May) three top level Equifax executives — namely the chief financial officer; the president of U.S. information solutions; and the president of workforce solutions — sold large amounts of their shares of Equifax, although its customers and the public were not notified about the breach until Sept. 7, Collins and King stated in their news release.

Equifax has stated that the three executives were not notified of the breach when they sold shares and exercised options, they added.

Bipartisan letter signed by 36 U.S. senators

In their Sept. 12 letter to the SEC, Department of Justice and FTC, Collins, King and 34 U.S. senators pointedly raise the concern over potential insider trading violations: "As part of your investigations, we request that you conduct a thorough examination of any unusual trading, including any atypical options trading, for violations of insider trading law. To the extent that your investigations uncover any information regarding whether Equifax management employed reasonable measures to ensure the security of the now compromised data prior to this cyber breach, we would appreciate your sharing these details."

The letter cited "disturbing reports that senior Equifax executives sold more than $1.5 million in Equifax securities" within days of the breach's discovery.

"We request that you spare no effort in your investigations and in enforcing the law to the fullest extent against anyone who is found to be at fault," the senators wrote, asking the SEC, Department of Justice and FTC recipients to provide "periodic updates on your progress."

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Letter signed by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King

Comments

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Dburleigh

Bangor
09/13/17 AT 12:36 PM
And you wonder why no one trusts big business.......our credit and personal information is compromised for several months prior to us being notified about it, and during that time lapse the "C-Office" is dumping stock for millions to protect themselves. If this is found to be connected in any way, they should go to jail for a long time.

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