Equifax Inc. has insisted that three executives who sold off over a million dollars in shares just days after news of a massive hack of 143 million Americans’ financial data spread internally were not aware of the breach when they made the sales.
But internally, amid federal investigations of both the company’s handling of the incident and the three managers in question, Equifax may not be so sure. Per Bloomberg, the Equifax board of directors have hired attorneys and formed a special committee to conduct a “thorough review” of the trades. News of the inquiry comes via a letter sent to the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Frank Pallone, which Bloomberg obtained.
“Equifax takes these matters seriously,” Equifax wrote in response to questions from Democrats on the committee.
The internal inquiry could reflect growing unease over the nature of the trades, in which Equifax chief financial officer John Gamble, president of US information solutions Joseph Loughran and president of workforce solutions Rodolfo Ploder sold off over $US1.8 million ($2.3 million) in stock in sales that were not pre-planned. As Bloomberg noted, Equifax stock plummeted 25 per cent since September 7th, when the hack was publicly announced.
It could also reflect immense pressure on the company to be seen doing something about it. Investigators with a number of US federal agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI have become involved. So too have the Federal Trade Commission and various members of Congress.
Equifax CEO and chairman Richard Smith announced his retirement last week, though could still receive up to $US90 million ($115 million) in various benefits and payouts. The company said Chief Information Officer David Webb and Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin were already “retiring” earlier this month.
Equifax did not return a request for comment from Gizmodo.