SEC and Justice Department: Silicon Valley Bank investigation

SEC and Justice Department: Silicon Valley Bank investigation

People queue in front of Silicon Valley Bank’s headquarters to withdraw their funds on March 13, 2023 in Santa Clara, California.

Liu Guanguan | China news service | Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are investigating how Silicon Valley Bank became the second largest banking collapse in US history, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The probes, which are separate and in a preliminary phase, include examining stock sales made by SVB executives before the collapse of the tech-focused bank, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The demise of Silicon Valley Bank, as well as crypto-focused Signature Bank, in recent days prompted extraordinary bailouts from regulators and caused a financial shock that rattled markets, particularly regional bank stocks. In addition to safeguarding deposits at SVB and Signature Bank, federal regulators also announced an additional funding facility for troubled banks.

The SEC and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

SVB CFO Daniel Beck sold 2,000 shares of SVB Financial on Feb. 27, the same day that CEO Gregory Becker exercised options on 12,451 shares and sold them, regulatory filings show. The sales were made under pre-planned insider trading arrangements known as 10b5-1 plans. The WSJ said Beck and Becker did not respond to calls for comment.

CNBC reported Monday that regulators may make a second attempt to sell the failed SVB after the weekend’s auction ended in naught.

— Click here to read the WSJ story.