Sebastian Ahlskog is the former CFO of Starbreeze, a Swedish studio that may be known for the Payday series. He was convicted of insider trading in February 2020 Guilt: The conviction has now been dropped on appeal (According to GamesIndustry.biz).
The initial conviction was made after an investigation into Ahlskog’s sale of his shares in Starbreeze in November 2018. This is one month after he left the company, when the company was in serious financial trouble and a major company reorganization was about to begin. The structure was publicly announced in December 2018. Ahlskog sold his stock for 700,000 Swedish kronor (approximately 60,000 pounds or 81,000 US dollars), which shows why the Swedish Economic Crime Administration considers the timing to be quite suspicious.
GamesIndustry.biz I have seen court documents certified by the Swedish Court of Appeal, showing that these allegations were dismissed on June 11. The court found that Ahlskog had no inside information indicating that Starbreeze would not be able to find external funds, and pointed out that when the shares were sold, the company was discussing funding issues with external partners. The court further stated that Starbreeze had not been declared bankrupt (it went through a Swedish company procedure called Reconstruction).
The Swedish authorities must appeal this decision before September 7, but refused to pursue further investigations. Ahlskog no longer needs to pay the fine at the time of the initial conviction, and the sentence will be amended retrospectively. Ahlskog is not the only Starbreeze lawsuit implicated: former CEO Bo Andersson Klint has also been charged but has been cleared.
As far as Starbreeze is concerned, its business during the reconstruction period is healthier. The current CEO Tobias Sjögren wrote in the company’s most recent financial report: “We raised two financings during the year and paid off most of our debts. Strengthened our strengths. The financial situation has allowed Payday 3 to continue to be successfully developed in 2021-all the key steps that have allowed Starbreeze to become an industry leader again.”