Washington, May 15: Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, who is the Republican chairman of the US Senate intelligence committee announced on Friday that he will step down while an insider trading inquiry is carried out by the FBI. Burr said he had decided to do so because he did not want the investigation to distract the committee from its work.
Burr's phone was also seized by the FBI as part of the inquiry. The senator is accused of using inside information to avoid market losses arising due to the coronavirus pandemic. He denies any wrongdoing. Burr and his wife are accused of selling as much as $1.7m (£1.4m) of equities in February, just before markets plunged due to fears of an economic crisis. It is illegal for members of Congress to trade based on non-public information gathered during their official duties.
Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, as well as Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, also reportedly sold holdings before the downturn, but are not confirmed to be under investigation. Feinstein however, said she had answered questions from the FBI regarding trades made by her husband. (UNI)