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SEC Investigates Founder's Role in LendingClub Buyback Plan

  • SEC examining whether ex-CEO withheld information from board
  • Laplanche was at risk of losing money on loan if shares fell

Wall Street’s top cop is scrutinizing whether the founder of LendingClub Corp. advocated for the company to prop up its shares without telling the board about a possible conflict of interest, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

As part of a broad investigation into the online lending platform, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing Renaud Laplanche’s role in a $150 million share buyback approved in February, said the people, who asked not to be named because details of the probe aren’t public. Laplanche, who was chairman and chief executive officer at the time, had pledged some of his shares as collateral for a loan and was required to put up more money if the stock slid below a certain price, the people said.