Former Starbreeze CFO acquitted of insider trading charges

Sebastian Ahlskog no longer has to pay fine after Swedish Court of Appeal orders original judgement be amended

Starbreeze's former chief financial officer Sebastian Ahlskog has been acquitted of all charges for insider trading.

He was convicted in 2020 following an investigation into the sale of his shares ahead of Starbreeze's reconstruction period, a special measure for Swedish businesses on the brink of insolvency.

Ahlskog stepped down as CFO in October 2018, selling his shares a month later to raise over SEK 700,000 ($72,000 at the time, but $81,000 today). In December, it emerged that Starbreeze was facing insolvency.

However, court documents shared with and authenticated by the Swedish Court of Appeal show that he was acquitted earlier this year.

The court confirmed to us that charges of insider trading were dismissed entirely on June 11th, and the original judgement by the district court would be amended.

The prosecution was given until September 7 to appeal against the court's decision, but has not done so.

Ahlskog also no longer has to pay a fee to the crime victims fund. It was previously reported he was fined SEK 40,000 ($4,640, but at the time $4,142).

The Court of Appeal does not believe Ahlskog had insider information that Starbreeze would fail to find external funding as it faced insolvency. At the time he sold his shares, the company was still in discussions with banks and other parties.

It is also noted that Starbreeze was never declared bankrupt.

After a year in reconstruction, the Payday studio emerged with a plan to pay off its debts. By December 2020, it had paid off most of its creditors.

Ahlskog's conviction followed an investigation by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority, which involved a raid on the publisher's headquarters.

Former CEO Bo Andersson Klint was also under investigation, but was later cleared of all charges.

Earlier this year, we spoke to Starbreeze's new CEO Tobias Sjögren about the company's continued recovery, including a €50 million publishing deal for Payday 3.

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