SEC closes insider trading investigation into former Republican senator


The US Securities and Exchange Commission closed its investigation of insider trading in stock transactions made by then-Sen. Richard Burr and his son-in-law at the start of the pandemic, the former senator announced on Friday.

“The SEC informed me this week that they have concluded their investigation with no action. I am glad to have this issue in the rearview mirror as I begin my retirement from the Senate after nearly three decades of public service,” Burr, R-North Carolina, said in a statement.

The announcement comes almost two years later The Justice Department has completed its own review of the matter, which was launched in March 2020, soon after questionable dealings by Burr and other lawmakers became public knowledge.

Burr sold $1.65 million worth of stock on Feb. 13, 2020, previous SEC court filings revealed. The sales include tens of thousands of dollars in inventory in the hospitality industry, which has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The SEC declined CNN’s request for comment.

The deals struck by Burr and his son-in-law first drew attention because of Burr’s position on the Senate committees overseeing health policy and US intelligence. The intelligence committee, which Burr chaired at the time, received periodic briefings on the coronavirus as the outbreak began to spread, but received no such briefing during the week of deals.

The SEC previously said Burr possessed “material non-public information regarding Covid-19 and its potential impact on the US and global economy.”

In the Justice Department’s stock-trading investigation, Burr turned over his official Senate phone to the FBI after being served with a warrant, an official confirmed to CNN at the time. The use of the warrant was signed off at the highest levels of the Justice Department, as per the record, according to the source.

The Senate-issued cell phone was Burr’s primary device, and investigators have asked Apple for information from Burr’s iCloud backup, a person familiar with the investigation previously said.

Burr has consistently denied any wrongdoing, saying he made the trades based solely on public information, not information he received from the commission.

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