The Secret World developer Funcom was rumoured to be facing financial difficulty following a raid and investigation conducted by Norway’s financial investigation unit Økokrim. CEO Ole Schreiner has now given a new interview, in which he stressed that it’s business as usual for the company.
We covered the Funcom raid back in January, during which speculation emerged that the company had been taken off the Norweigan stock exchange and that it had been charged over suspicions that the firm infringed provisions of the Securities Trading Act.
Now; speaking with GI.biz, Schreiner explained, “There was speculation that we were out of business and that the Økokrim had taken all of our computers, They took a handful of computers, didn’t touch the production environment and gave them back two days later. We were back in full production the day after they came. So even though it was quite a dramatic event, it all blew over very fast. The police were very professional.”
As it happens, the financial unit was following up claims from an anonymous insider, made to The Escapist back in September 2012. It was believed that previous Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas left his position to dump some 650,000 shares before they went through the process of regulatory scrutiny. In short; it was claimed he knew The Secret World would not make the desired amount of money, so he attempted to cash in via insider trading.
Økokrim’s raid was an attempt to investigate those claims, and Schreiner has seen it unfold first-hand. “What we know is actually very little and the few things we do know, we can’t talk about,” he explained, “because it’s an ongoing case. The investigation began in 2012 and it’s assumed that this is that investigation being prolonged, that has lead to this charge against Funcom N.V.: the company which is listed on the Oslo stock exchange, the holding company.
“The charges are two-fold. The first is that Funcom, between August 2011 and August 2012, manipulated the market. The other is that we had wrongfully filed insider information. No current employees of Funcom have been charged. We don’t really know any more than that, so a handful of us, me included, have been interviewed as witnesses.
“We’ve been cooperating fully with the police on everything, giving all our information and helping when they need any more documents. We definitely want this case out in the open and done with as soon as possible.”
“I think things have settled,” he concluded. “We have to take some criticism about not keeping the press well enough informed. The only thing that the police have told us is that the company might get fined, that’s what we know. We’ve had no indication whatsoever of the potential magnitude of that fine or how long it could take. We want to cooperate as much as possible and get things done.”
What do you make of the investigation so far?