The Swedish developer behind Payday 2 has been raided by the Swedish government for possible involvement with insider trading.
So let’s get the irony out of the way right off the bat. Payday: The Heist and its sequel Payday 2 are both games where you pull off large, Hollywood blockbuster-style bank heists. You and your team of ne'er-do-wells are equipped with an arsenal of weaponry, special abilities, and masks that help you out as you pilfer whatever the job entails.
The original Payday was made by Overkill Studios, which was then purchased by Starbreeze Studios in 2012, which then went on to publish Payday 2.
And now they’ve been raided by the Swedish government for insider trading. Are we done laughing yet? No? Fine, we can wait.
Now are you ready? Great. Let’s move on.
It turns out the raid isn’t entirely baseless. Starbreeze filed for “restructuring”, which is Swedish for bankruptcy, on December 3rd due to a lack of liquidity. Unlike in America, restructuring just pauses all of Starbreeze’s debts while they fix their company so that it's profitable again--something they’re continuing to do in order to return the company to profitability by 2019.
When Starbreeze announced their restructuring, both CEO Bo Andersson Klint and CFO Sebastian Ahlskog immediately resigned, but not before they sold all their stock in Starbreeze. According to Swedish newspaper Breakit, Klint sold shares worth 18.6 million Swedish Krona (or roughly $2 million USD) back in November, while Ahlskog sold 3.3 million Krona (roughly $370,000) at about the same time.
After Starbreeze announced their restructuring plan in December, the company’s shares lost 80% of their value practically overnight. It seems that both Klint and Ahlskog saw the writing on the wall, and sold their shares to get one last payday before resigning.
Unfortunately, in most modern countries that’s considered insider trading. We’ll have to tag that with the word “allegedly” as nobody has been tried in court yet, but it definitely doesn’t look good on paper. We do know that the Swedish police have one person in custody and a bunch of computer files to sift throw, so charges are likely coming.