Promotional art for Payday 2, one of Starbreeze's most popular games.

Former Starbreeze CFO Guilty of Insider Trading

February 15, 2020

By: Brian Renadette

 
 

This Tuesday, Sebastian Ahlskog, the former CFO of Starbreeze Studios, was found guilty of insider trading by Swedish authorities. In addition to the SEK 700,000 ($72,494) seized in the initial raid on Starbreeze's headquarters, Ahlskog will be paying a fine of SEK 40,000 ($4,142).

According to the local publication Dangens Industri, a district court found Ahlskog guilty on charges of insider trading on Tuesday. This ruling marks the end of an investigation performed by Sweden's Economic Crime Authority (ECA.) Some people may remember them from back in December 2018 when they raided the Starbreeze headquarters and one private home. Then-CEO Andersson Klint was also under investigation at the time, but has been cleared of any charges. Dangens Industri reports that Ahlskog used his insider knowledge of Starbreeze's financial woes to sell his shares on November 2018. This was one month before Starbreeze filed for reconstruction, a special recovery period given to Swedish companies facing insolvency. Ahlskog stepped down as CFO a month earlier, while Klint stepped down that December.

 

ECO press officer Niklas Ahlgren told gamesindustry.biz that Ahlskog will pay SEK 40,000 as part of his conviction, in addition to the SEK 700,000 that was seized in the raid. He'll have two weeks to appeal the decision, but there's been no word on if the former CFO will.

As for Starbreeze, they've been working hard to try and bounce back from their financial woes. They ended off last year having completed the reconstruction process, but not without a variety of sacrifices. Starbreeze also recently released their end of year financial report, which announced that Payday 2 sold well enough on Steam for the company to get a 75/25 split on the profits (as opposed to Steam's regular 70/30 split.) They're also looking for a publishing partner for Payday 3. Specifically, one who can "provide financial stability and possesses the marketing and distribution resources required to power the best possible launch and further development of the product." Starbreeze hopes to close a deal in the first half of 2020.