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Former Starbreeze CFO convicted of insider trading

Sebastian Ahlskog raised more than $72,000 through insider trading ahead of publisher's brush with insolvency

Update: Sebastian Ahlskog was acquitted of all charges on appeal in September 2021.

Original story: The former chief financial officer of Starbreeze has been convicted of "gross insider crimes" after an investigation by Swedish authorities.

On Tuesday, a district court found Sebastian Ahlskog guilty of insider trading, having used his own knowledge of Starbreeze's woes to profit ahead of the company's reconstruction period.

This conviction is the culmination of an ongoing investigation by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority (ECO), which included a raid on the company's headquarters.

The publisher's former CEO Bo Andersson Klint was also under investigation, but has been cleared of the charges.

ECO press officer Niklas Ahlgren tells GamesIndustry.biz that the former Starbreeze CFO has been fined SEK 40,000 ($4,142).

The insider trading took place in November 2018, one month before it emerged that Starbreeze faced insolvency, local publication Dagens Industri reports. Ahlskog stepped down from his position in October, and Klint followed in December.

Ahlskog used his insider knowledge of the company's financial troubles and limit his own losses by selling off shares. The ECO tells us that SEK 700,000 ($72,494) was seized -- the former manager's proceeds from his trading.

According to Ahlgren, there is currently no word on whether the former CFO's defence will appeal the conviction. They have two weeks to do so.

Starbreeze has spent the past year under reconstruction, a special recovery period afforded to Swedish companies facing insolvency. The company has emerged from this with an approved plan to pay off its debts, although its most recent financial results still reported an annual loss of $12 million.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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