It was revealed on Sept. 7 that Equifax had suffered a historically severe security breach, exposing the sensitive personal information of some 143 million Americans to cybercriminals — but three executives at Equifax sold off $1.8 million in company stock before the breach was revealed to the public, Bloomberg reports.
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Equifax has since released a statement and does not deny that the executives sold stock just days after the company internally discovered the breach. What the company does deny is that the three men, identified as Chief Financial Officer John Gamble, President of U.S. Information Solutions Joseph Loughran and President of Workforce Solutions Rodolfo Ploder, had any knowledge of the breach when they sold their shares.
“Equifax discovered the cybersecurity incident on Saturday, July 29. The company acted immediately to stop the intrusion. The three executives who sold a small percentage of their Equifax shares on Tuesday, Aug. 1, and Wednesday, Aug. 2, had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time they sold their shares,” Equifax spokeswoman Ines Gutzmer said Thursday, according to Gizmodo.
In total, Gamble sold more than 13 percent of his Equifax stake, Loughran 9 percent and Ploder 4 percent. This occurred days after the July 29 breach discovery and more than a month before the company went public with the news.
As publications like Los Angeles Times wonder in headlines if this was a case of insider trading, corporate defense attorney Stuart Slotnick warned against jumping to conclusions, reports the Washington Post.
“It would be incredible if these sophisticated insiders would sell their shares based upon news. They are sophisticated executives, and they know full well that their selling the shares triggers public disclosures,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense that the CFO would sell a small lot of shares before a news event.”