The Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly asked Standard & Poors' management to hand over information on who within the credit rating agency knew about the pending U.S. downgrade prior to it being made public - the beginnings of a hunt for any potential insider trading, reports the Financial Times.
According to the FT, the SEC - responsible for monitoring the practices of credit ratings agencies and financial institutions - has not received any indication that staff at S&P leaked news of the looming downgrade before it was announced a week ago, nor have they discovered any stock trades which seem suspicious.
The downgrade, though widely expected, has sparked a week of turmoil on the world's financial markets.
Standard & Poor's two main rating rivals, Fitch and Moody's, have kept their ratings of the U.S. credit consistent, and some economists - and the Obama administration - have criticized the math and reasoning used by S&P to arrive at the decision to downgrade. (Click on the video at left for more on this debate)