DoJ and SEC to Investigate Stock Sales by Silicon Valley Bank Executives
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched separate probes into the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which sent shockwaves through the banking sector. The investigations will examine the stock sales the bank’s CEO and other executives made several days before the fallout, among other things.
SVB CEO Sold $3.6M Worth of Shares Shortly Before Collapse
The DOJ and the SEC have opened investigations into the historic collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank, the WSJ reported on Tuesday. One part of the probe will focus on the stock sales that the bank’s executives executed days before the crash, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Recent reports implied that SVB CEO Greg Becker offloaded $3.6 million worth of company shares less than two weeks before the bank reported severe losses that led to its demise. Becker sold 12,451 shares on Feb. 27, marking the first time he sold shares in parent company SVB Financial Group in more than a year, regulatory filings showed. Becker filed a trading plan that allowed him to sell the shares in late January.
According to the report, the two separate investigations are still early and may not lead to any charges or allegations. The move should not be surprising given that government regulators and prosecutors typically launch investigations when major companies and institutions collapse.
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How Did SVB Collapse?
SVB, one of the key banks that served US tech startups and venture capitalists, fell prey last week following a historic run on deposits. Customers attempted to withdraw $42 billion on March 9, representing roughly a quarter of the bank’s total deposits.
SVB invested a significant part of deposits in US Treasuries and other government-sponsored debt securities. These assets saw their value decline notably following a series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve over the past year.
On Friday, the US financial regulators shut down the SVB, marking the largest banking failure since 2008. Just two days later, the regulators also closed down the Signature Bank, due to systemic risk. Signature Bank was the second-biggest crypto-friendly bank in the US after Silvergate, which shuttered operations last week. Depositors of both SVB and Signature Bank would be “made whole,” regulators said, adding the taxpayer would bear no losses.
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