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.