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UPDATE 1-Overstock shares surge 15% after CEO Patrick Byrne quits

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Aug 22 (Reuters) - Overstock.com's stock surged 15% on Thursday after Chief Executive Officer Patrick Byrne resigned following his claim of being involved in a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Russia and former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

His resignation follows a drop of over 30% in Overstock's shares over two days earlier this month, with investors rattled after Byrne claimed in a statement on Thursday that he had secretly been involved with the FBI, starting in 2015.

"While I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock, both as CEO and board member," Byrne said in the statement.

A libertarian with a doctorate in philosophy from Stanford University, Byrne for over a decade has publicly battled short sellers targeting his company as it competes against larger rivals, including Amazon.com Inc and eBay Inc, and he is known for making brash statements.

In May, Byrne lashed out at investors who questioned the motivation behind his sale of about 15% of his Overstock shares, saying he had to supplement his $100,000 a year salary and vowing never to "give such an explanation again."

The stock has fallen more than 70% from record highs in January 2018, when Overstock was benefiting from Byrne's plan to launch a digital token and from hype around cryptocurrencies. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Richard Chang)