(New York) The United States Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the bankruptcy of SVB bank, potentially targeting recent share sales by several bank executives, several American media reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. .

According to the Wall Street Journal, the agency overseeing the stock markets, the SEC, has also launched an investigation.

Investigations are still at a preliminary stage and may not lead to formal charges, the newspaper adds.

The rout of SVB, a bank close to start-ups and venture capitalists, was precipitated by massive withdrawals from customers with more than $250,000 in their account, more than the amount usually guaranteed by the authorities.

The establishment was placed on Friday under the control of the American regulator FDIC, thus marking the most important failure of a bank since the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

To reassure on the solidity of the banking system, the authorities assured Sunday that the entirety of the deposits of the bankrupt bank Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) would be guaranteed.

Neither the Justice Department nor the SEC would comment to AFP on the opening of an investigation.

The SEC, however, referred to a statement by its chairman, Gary Gensler, who on Sunday assured that the SEC “will investigate and take enforcement action if [it] finds violations of federal securities laws”.

“In these times of heightened volatility and uncertainty, the SEC is particularly focused on monitoring market stability and identifying and prosecuting any form of misconduct that could threaten investors, capital formation or markets more generally,” he said at the time.

In an op-ed published Monday, influential Senator Elizabeth Warren called on prosecutors and regulators to “investigate whether executives have engaged in insider trading or violated other civil or criminal laws.”

She also called on the authorities to recover the remuneration and bonuses paid last year to SVB boss Greg Becker, as well as bonuses paid to executives.

According to stock documents, Greg Beck and SVB chief financial officer Daniel Beck notably carried out stock sales at the end of February according to a sales program established in advance.