Funcom Charged Over Possible Financial Infringements

Funcom, developer of Age of Conan and The Secret World among others, has been reinstated on the Oslo Stock Exchange following a suspension earlier this morning. The suspension was related to charges from Økokrim, the Norwegian authority for the investigation and prosecution of financial crime. The charges state that the company is cooperating fully, which may tie in to reports in Norwegian media that the offices have been closed down and employees sent home while the investigation begins today. As for the specifics, we don’t know anymore than the few details in the charge sheet, which are covered below. We have contacted Funcom and will update as soon as we know more.

The statement from the Oslo Stock Exchange locks down the period in question: “suspicion of infringement of the provisions of the Securities Trading Act with regards to the financial information given to the market regarding The Secret World from August 2011 until the launch of the game in July 2012 and the two months following the launch”.

In addition to the charges, Økokrim reckon there’s a possibility that the financial documentation covering the period in question might not have been correctly maintained. It’s all troubling news for the already troubled developer, which has been shrinking its international operations and losing employees, including long-time creative engine, Ragnar Tørnquist.

We’ll try to learn what this means for The Secret World and the company’s in-development Lego project, as well as any possible implications attaching to those employed at the company during the period, and Secret World co-publisher Electronic Arts.

There is even a possibility that this news could impact Dreamfall Chapters as the license is still held by Funcom.

Source: E24.


  1. Soulstrider says:

    God damn, I honestly hope this doesn’t affect Chapters.

    Also I have been meaning to buy Secret World for over a year, I guess I lucked out.

  2. Archipelagos says:

    Bloody hell, this is the last thing Funcom needed. It seemed as if they had just managed to stop the ship from sinking and now this…ugh. How bad could this get, legally speaking, anyone know?

    • Drakhoran says:

      They’re charged with market manipulation and failing to keep logs over people with insider information. For the company this will probably lead to some disruption while Økokrim searches the offices for evidence and eventually a fine they’ll hopefully be able to pay.

      For some of the people who should have been in those missing logs this could also lead to charges of insider trading which in Norway is punishable by up to six years in prison. Former CEO Tor Arne Aas for instance is known to have sold quite a few Funcom shares during the period in question.

  3. Siresly says:

    If Funcom goes away I hope it won’t be too costly for Red Thread to acquire the license. Some shitstain company stealing it away from them would be the worst.

  4. RProxyOnly says:

    So it’s a case of bumming up their worth to affect share price?

    Naughty, naughty… but these things happen in an unrestrained capitalist society, it’s hardly eyebrow-raising, simply part and parcel of the system.

    I do hope it doesn’t impinge on The secret World.

    • ArmyMan says:

      “unrestrained capitalist society”
      Go preach somewhere else, commie.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Lol.. Relic.

        Did you really say that?

        I suppose you’re the type of informed new man who also calls the environmentally aware hippies and treehuggers.

        I’ve typed some amount of bullshit in my time, and will probably continue to do so.. but I’m a novice in your presence.

        It’s not the comment though, it’s the reflection on you for making the comment.

        Commie, lmao.. Do you know who instantly came to mind? Ralph from ‘Wait til your father gets home.’

        Do you have any more? That was so funny.

      • Eggman says:

        You missed the communist witch hunts by about 40 years, genius.

  5. substationradio says:

    I’ve had the Secret World for four months and I ONLY JUST started to get addicted to it, so maybe this is for the best

  6. rcguitarist says:

    This is why I never pay more than $4 for online-only/multiplayer games. At any time something could happen to the developer or publisher and then BAM, the game is now dead and you are out of your hard earned money. I am sure that if the company is successfully prosecuted, funcom will shut down their games.

  7. Noviere says:

    My only concern was for Red Thread Games and their license for Dreamfall.

  8. araczynski says:

    So I guess I’ll never get my own Age Of Conan standalone server?

  9. Ultra Superior says:

    Taxman is no fun.

  10. somnolentsurfer says:

    A little concerned that not only do Funcom own the Dreamfall rights, but also that Ragnar was leading the implicated project during the suspicious timeframe. Don’t go to prison Ragnar! Hope it’s all cleared up soon.

    • Vandelay says:

      Economics and financial dealings bemuse me, but I would have thought that Ragnar would not be implicated in anything here; he might have been leading a project and managing allocation of the budget, but the money men would have assigned that money to him, with the advise of the accountants. Those two groups would be the ones that would be getting their hands dirty with insider dealings and the like.

      The fact that Funcom own the rights to Dreamfall could be problematic to Red Thread continuing the project if Funcom close down as a result of this and they are unable to buy the rights. I wouldn’t have thought any of employees could be charged with anything though.

      • Nice Save says:

        From my understanding of things, insider trading isn’t necessarily anything to do with the company’s finances. It has to do with buying and selling stock on the market, but based on knowledge of the company’s inner workings which isn’t available to the general public, therefore gaining an unfair advantage. So anyone who knows what’s going to be announced by a company in advance could buy or sell stock based on a prediction of its value changing as a result of the announcement. It also doesn’t necessarily have to be the company doing it, but it could be an employee buying stock for themselves.

        It sounds like no-one’s being accused of participating in this, but rather the company is being accused of not keeping track of their employees as they’re presumably required to do to prevent/catch insider trading.

    • Eggman says:

      This is about insider trading of Funcom stocks, not related to game production.