Former Funcom execs convicted, sentenced in insider trading case

The insider trading case that’s embroiled the former leadership of MMORPG studio Funcom has finally come to a close today with convictions and sentences for three of the four executives charged.

Recall that Trond Arne Aas resigned from his CEO role at Funcom in 2012 on the very same day that The Secret World launched (and underperformed), after which he sold off a significant portion of his stocks, prompting the investigation and the 2014 raid on Funcom’s offices by the Norwegian economic crime unit in connection with its securities fraud investigation. Last year, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime charged Aas and three other former company executives with market manipulation and insider trading for their role in what ØKOKRIM characterized as the 2011-2012 “pump and dump” financial scandal. The trial began last November; all four men maintained their innocence, with at least one attorney denouncing ØKOKRIM for “activism.”

According to the government-owned Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, sentences have been handed down in the criminal case today. While the former marketing director was acquitted on all counts, the other three were found guilty of insider trading but not market manipulation. The former chairman was given 13 months in prison, the former finance director will serve 85 days, and Aas himself will do 11 months. All three convicted men will pay fines as well, with the largest coming out to around $900,000 US (about $1.5M in total). Aas has said he will appeal the conviction.

We again clarify that all of those involved in the investigation and trial are former Funcom employees; the modern company behind Conan Exiles and Secret World (Legends) is not tangled up in the legal mess. “It will not have any impact on the company, our games, or our players,” the studio told us last year.

Source: NRK.no. With deepest thanks to DeviateFish!
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PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

I guess that explains that why Funcom stock price more than doubled during 2012.

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Roger Melly

I once knew a guy from Norway in Rift who had been to prison he said he’d stayed in less comfortable hotels in Russia .

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Utakata

…in Russia, hotels book you!

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Mr Poolaty

CEO leaves company and dumps stocks. Wtf am I missing? Because idk wtf is the problem…

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Matt Redding

It was the day the MMO “The Secret World” launched and they found out they only sold about 100k copies when they were expecting to move close to a million.

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pesko

At least Norwegian jails are probably better than living free in many countries.

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Fervor Bliss

Was this the real motivation for the new Conan and TSW games?

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Nordavind

Uhm, what?

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Bryan Correll

What ya mean what? Actually reading the article is hard.

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Utakata

Yes, they’re called Funcom Exiles now…

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John Mynard

A summary, since reading is…hard some days, I guess:

The CEO of Funcom, circa 2012, one Trond Arne Aas, along with three other former Funcom execs have been found guilty of fraud and send away to prison for between 11 and 13 months and will be forced to pay fines of $1.5 million(equivalent).

Funcom were quick to reiterate that none of the people convicted have been associated with the company, or it’s products, since 2012.

Happy now? It was four paragraphs… :

April-Rain
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April-Rain

Unlucky really, don’t get me wrong I am all for justice for doing wrong but we are as a world are just coming out of one the worst banking/ money scandals of the last century and not one banker went to prison, instead we bailed em out with billions and made them richer at the same time as making us the people a lot poorer, which makes this seem a bit harsh lol.

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jay

Different country.

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odin valhalla

Here’s hoping Secret World Legends can help put this bit of ugliness to the side and really become a great game for gamers and for Funcom. That would be a great “next chapter” to this story.

luxundae
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luxundae

Traditional English names are so boring in comparison to Trond Arne…

Also, it took a long time for that to work its way through the investigation and the courts!

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mcsleaz

“Trond” sounds a little too Caveman like for my tastes.

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Sally Bowls

I am always surprised at the “is not tangled up in the legal mess.”

IANAL, and I know even less, if that were possible, about Norwegian law. But for the US, criminal and civil are two different trials/laws. (IIRC, my law professor said they are done at the same time in the UK.) I was taught that when a person or firm is liable criminally and civilly, it is not uncommon to let the criminal proceed first. Let the taxpayers fund the investigation and criminal investigators can be more intimidating when they can threaten jail time. If you luck out and get a criminal conviction, then it helps with the civil case.

So if someone who lost money in Funcom stock were to sue the current company, as a lay person, it seems to me that saying “back when I lost my money, your company was run by convicted criminals and I relied on their statements” would have some sway. So I would expect that your executives getting criminal convictions would tangle the company, as it would increase their chance of litigation. Again, there is nothing to say my expectations reflect the reality of the Norwegian legal situation.

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Tobasco da Gama

What an aashole.