Five Ubisoft executives have been sanctioned for alleged insider stock trading. The fines levied come in at €1.27m — around $1.33m — and were imposed by the French financial markets authority, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF)
Ubisoft has said that it "acknowledges the AMF’s decision, but continues ro assert that the people involved acted in good faith." Some of those accused by the AMF plan to appeal the decision.
The five executives named are Yannis Mallet, Olivier Paris, Francis Baillet, Christine Burgess and Damien Moret, and the AMF alleges that they believe that the group used insider knowledge of the delays of Watch Dogs and The Crew to sell company stock before the delays were revealed. The delays tanked Ubisoft’s share value, which fell significantly following the announcement.
Mallet, Baillet, Burgess and Paris are all intending to appeal the decision.
A full statement from Ubisoft is below:
“Today, the AMF announced a decision against five of our team members in Canada and France, whom the AMF charges with having sold Ubisoft shares while in possession of privileged information related to the probability of postponing one of Ubisoft’s games.
Ubisoft acknowledges the AMF’s decision, but continues to assert that the people involved acted in good faith. We are convinced that these team members did not intentionally commit any acts contrary to market regulations.
Similarly, given the processes and timetables involved in the production of major games at our company and within our industry in general, we believe that at the time they carried out their transactions these employees could not have been aware of or anticipate the subsequent decision to postpone the game that would be taken by Yves Guillemot on October 11, 2013.
Regrettably, the AMF’s decision represents a serious misunderstanding of the game development and production process at our company and common to our industry. Each major game requires the involvement of multiple teams across the company, but ultimately only the company’s CEO can make an exceptional decision such as changing a game’s release date.”