We have learned via BreakIt.se that Starbreeze Studio corporate headquarters was raided Wednesday morning by Swedish police, on suspicion of “gross insider crimes.” Initial speculation points to this most likely insider trading, and one person has been arrested.
Other websites are reporting that computers and documents were seized by plain-clothed authorities. There are also claims documentation has reached the Stockholm District Court relating to the individual or individuals under suspicion.
The Swedish Economic Crime Authority issued a statement to Twitter confirming their involvement.
“The Swedish Economic Crime Authority has carried out a series of house searches regarding suspicion of insider trading at Starbreeze studios. One of the searches was carried out at the offices of Starbreeze studios in Stockholm. One person has been arrested and detained.”
A second tweet confirmed that the preliminary investigation is being led by Chief Prosecutor Thomas Langrot. Langrot even commented that the investigation began “due to the articles that have been featured in the media.”
BreakIt.se also reports that allegedly on November 15th, Sebastian Ahlskog (outgoing Finance Manager for Starbreeze) sold all of his shares in Starbreeze Studios for 3.3 million kr (Swedish Krona, $367,576.95 USD at this time of writing). In addition, outgoing CEO Bo Andersson Klint allegedly sold shares for a total of 18.6 million kr ($2,071,729.49 USD at this time of writing).
Previously, Starbreeze announced their insolvency and no profitable EBITDA in 2019 (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) on November 23rd. The company’s stock price has dropped by 75% to 80% of what they were worth if the managers had sold their shares when they allegedly did.
Announcing a company’s financial future can be declared at a later date in rare circumstances, and reports are claiming that while the information delay may have been legal, the alleged actions of the managers was not.
A Starbreeze spokesperson said (via Dagen Industri) they were forced into sale by the bank, and that “regarding the ebitda goal, on November 15, there was no information that motivated it”. Claims of delaying the announcement of the CEO stepping was also denied, claiming it happened immediately after a board decision on November 15th.
Speaking to Exspressen, Ann Charlotte Svensson (Starbreeze Studio’s Investor Relations Chief) issued the following statement:
“The company as such is not the subject of any suspicion. The company cooperates with the ECO. The event does not affect the company of the ongoing business reconstruction.”
Dagen Industri has received copies of the Starbreeze Studio’s documents from the Financial Supervisory Authority which you can download here. Suffice to say, they are in Swedish.
We will keep you posted as this story develops.
Editor’s Note: Massive thanks to Simon Nilsson for the translation and the tip!