The former CFO of Starbreeze has been convicted of the charge of trading inside his company’s information
After two years of legal wrangling, it appears that the contentious court case involving Starbreeze and its former CEO has finally come to a conclusion, although sadly for Payday fans.
Sebastian Ahlskog, Starbreeze’s CFO for five and a half years, was convicted of a charge for trading on insider information in 2020. At the time, a Swedish court found Ahlskog guilty of exploiting knowledge regarding Starbreeze’s financial status to sell shares before the public was aware that the business was insolvent.
Starbreeze came into financial difficulty in late 2018 and early 2019, laying off a fourth (1/4) of its staff when Overkill’s The Walking Dead failed to meet half of their public and sales objectives.
When Starbreeze acquired the license, the game was billed as a big windfall for the company, and the company expected massive sales, but the game was released with technical issues and rather poor gameplay, leading to bad reviews, with many calling the game “Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies getting worse” and having even worse sales.
Skybound Entertainment, the brand’s owners, revoked their license for The Walking Dead from Starbreeze a few months after its debut, followed by Starbreeze’s advise dismissing its CEO after claims of enormous Crunch-time, which resulted in health burnout.
Former CFO Sebastian Ahlskog, who left the business in late 2019, was convicted of insider trading in 2018 in February 2020. According to the courts, Ahlskog made SEK 700,000 (US$72,494) by exploiting Starbreeze’s confidential information, and he was also fined about $4,000.
Ahlskog’s conviction was reversed on appeal more than a year later, according to the Games Industry. The charges were dropped on June 11, 2021, with the prosecution given until September 7, 2021 to intervene (appeal). Because no challenges were filed, Ahlskog’s earlier conviction was reversed.
“The Court of Appeal does not think that Ahlskog has inside information that Starbreeze would be unable to secure outside finance because it is insolvent,” Games Industry stated.
“The firm was still in negotiations with banks and other stakeholders at the time he sold his shares.”
Ahlskog is no longer required to pay the $4,000 fine and has had his assets confiscated by Starbreeze restored to him.