Starbreeze Raided in Insider Trading Investigation

Starbreeze Raided in Insider Trading Investigation

Starbreeze Studios, the creators of Payday 2 and Overkill’s The Walking Dead, had their offices raided by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority (ECO or EBM) yesterday in an insider trading investigation. There has been one arrest so far.

Financial problems to legal ones

Just a few days after filing for reconstruction, Starbreeze faces some new troubles. In a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, ECO press officer Niklas Ahlgern issued a statement on what happened:

This morning officals from the Swedish Economic Crime Authority raided the offices of Starbreeze in Stockholm. One person was arrested and items were seized. The raid is part of an ongoing investigation involving suspected insider trading.

Ann Charlotte Svensson, the investor relations chief for Starbreeze, also released a statement:

On Wednesday Swedish Economic Crime Authority has conducted a search query at Starbreeze AB. The company has been informed that this has occurred due to suspicions of insider charges. The company as such is not subject to any suspicion. The company cooperates full with the Swedish Economic Crime Authority. The event does not affect the company or the ongoing business reconstruction.

As it turns out, the launch of lackluster co-op shooter Overkill’s The Walking Dead is related to the case. Reports, most notably from Dagens Industri (translated by Variety,) claim that two people sold their stock before the game’s poor sales tanked the company’s stock. These people are reported to be the outgoing CEO and the finance manager, but details are still sketchy.

According to Rock Paper Shotgun, the company’s stock was at 8.14 Swedish Krona (about $0.19 as of this writing) on November 6, the day of the game’s release. When Starbreeze filed for reconstruction, their stock was at 0.85 ($0.094).

While the company itself isn’t subject to suspicion, this could be another nail in Starbreeze’s coffin. Hopefully they can recover from this, or they not be a Payday 3.