Equifax says execs who sold shares were not aware of data breach

Equifax says execs who sold shares were not aware of data breach”

Equifax said Friday an internal review found that four executives who sold shares ahead of disclosure of a massive data breach at the credit agency were unaware of the incident ahead of the sale.

Equifax Inc.'s corporate headquarters is in Atlanta.

The four executives were not aware of suspicious activity or a security breach of the firm when they sold their shares, according to a report by a special committee Equifax set up to investigate the matter.

The committee, composed of independent Equifax board members, found that CFO John Gamble, president of US information relations Joseph Loughran, investor relations director Douglas Brandberg, and workforce solutions president Rodolfo Ploder first learned that "a security issue was being investigated" at various points in August after the sales occurred.

The company has firmly denied that the executives engaged in insider trading, but observers have been skeptical. Credit report company Equifax said Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, that an additional 2.5 million Americans may have been affected by the massive security breach of its systems, bringing the total to 145.5 million people who had their personal information accessed or stolen. That information put the spotlight on Gamble again, as he also ditched a large chunk of stock worth a whopping $1.91 million in May.

The Department of Justice is now conducting its own investigation of the trades. The others were made aware during an August 22 senior team meeting.

Equifax said the committee interviewed dozens of people and reviewed more than 55,000 emails, text messages, phone logs and other documents. It is comprised of independent directors and is advised by independent counsel.

Shares of Equifax fell 0.8% in pre-market trading. The special committee used the recipient list for the blackout notice to determine which employees should be reviewed, the company said in the statement.

Equifax shares have dropped 23 percent since it disclosed the breach on September 7, compared with the 4.7 percent advance of the S&P 500 Index.

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