Former Funcom CEO charged with market manipulation and insider trading

No one weekend should have all that power.

Reuters reports that former Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas has been charged by The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime with “market manipulation and insider trading, focusing on a nine-month period in 2011-2012.”

Three additional people are charged with insider trading in relation to Funcom. Lawyers for the accused are maintaining their clients’ innocence.

Trond Arne Aas resigned from his CEO role at Funcom in 2012 on the very same day that The Secret World launched, after which he sold off a significant portion of his stocks, prompting the Norwegian authorities to investigate. In January of 2014, Funcom’s offices were raided by the Norwegian economic crime unit in connection with its securities fraud investigation.

To be clear, we have no specific reason to believe that modern Funcom has any culpability here, but we have reached out to the studio for a statement. (See below for the update and response.)

Source: Reuters. With thanks to ZenDadaist.

Update 4 p.m. EST: Oslo-based Dagens Næringsliv reports this afternoon that the other defendants charged as part of the “pump and dump” scheme this week are all either former Funcom employees or board members: former CFO Bjorn Ottar Toften, former sales and marketing director Morten Schjelle Larsen, and former deputy board head Torleif Ahlsand.

“The indictment describes how Funcom in the period from 26 October 2011 on numerous occasions announced incorrect, selected and/or incomplete information likely to create expectations and perceptions that [The Secret World] would generate and/or generated revenues in line with the ‘Target scenario,'” the paper writes.

Toften’s attorney has chalked Tuesday’s charges up to ØKOKRIM activism: “We see too often that ØKOKRIM is driving cases based on how they think the laws should be rather than how the law actually is. This is to try to get the boundaries of what is punishable extended.”

It appears that the indictments were handed down a year ago, but the charges were levied this week.

(Translations via Google.)

Update 5:30 p.m. EST: A spokesperson for Funcom has issued the following statement to Massively OP:

“The four individuals charged in this case are no longer employed by Funcom. As Funcom is neither charged or under investigation in this matter, it will not have any impact on the company, our games, or our players.”


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