As reported by numerous venues, such as this one, Norwegian MMO developer Funcom was paid an unwelcome visit this morning by officials from the National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, who “raided the offices and packed boxes of seized documents into a van.” Employees were sent home and the company’s stock was taken off the Oslo Stock Exchange.
According to the company, Funcom is being charged with breaching disclosure statements related to The Secret World and may be further investigated for failing to track who had access to inside information. The charges may be related to the actions of former Funcom CEO Trond Aas, who stepped down on July 2, 2012, the day before TSW launched and, it was later revealed, attempted to sell his 1.5 million shares of stock in the company. Aas is suspected of taking this action so he could more easily sell off his stock without officially having to inform the Oslo Stock Exchange. The Secret World was scheduled for a June 30 launch and pushed back three days.
In addition to The Secret World, Funcom has two free-to-play MMOs — Age of Conan and the in-development LEGO Minifigures Online. How those games, as well as TSW, will be affected by these actions is hard to say, but it can’t be a positive thing. If Trond Aas is the primary rulebreaker and his punishment, if any, can be separated from any sanctions handed down to Funcom, then it would seem that business as usual can resume. If the company itself is caught in the crossfire, then things could get messy.
We have reached out to Funcom regarding this incident and will update this article if and when we receive a response.