The French stock market regulator, Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), has accused several Ubisoft executives of selling stock by virtue of inside knowledge. The publisher has denied the claims.
As reported by Kotaku, the AMF claims five Ubisoft employees sold stocks in the lead up to October 15, 2013—the day on which both The Crew and the original Watch Dogs were pushed back into 2014.
As a result of the delays the company's stock dropped 25 percent, says Kotaku, with the AMF alleging the five staff members arraigned—said to include Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat—were aware of the delays prior to offloading their shares. With Ubisoft's headquarters based in Paris, these actions might be in breach of French insider trading laws.
Ubisoft denies the claims—Mallat specifically in this interview with LaPresse.CA—and sent the following lengthy statement to Kotaku:
"Ubisoft is aware that an action being brought by the French Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) involves five of our team members. Those individuals vigorously dispute their implication in this matter and the AMF’s interpretation of the facts. Yves Guillemot, Co-Founder and CEO of Ubisoft, does not question the good faith of the people involved and has reassured them that they have his full support and trust.
"These proceedings revolve around Ubisoft’s temporary stock market drop in the fall of 2013, after it was announced that Watch Dogs and The Crew would be delayed. The French AMF is alleging that before the announcement the team members in question may have sold securities while being in possession of insider information. The proceedings will continue in November at the Commission des Sanctions (sanctions board) in Paris.
"Ubisoft itself has not been charged by the AMF. Moreover, three of the Canadian team members implicated in the AMF’s action today filed a motion with the Superior Court of Québec demanding that the procedure be declared invalid and seeking damages against AMF France and AMF Québec."
We've reached out to Ubisoft for further comment, and will update as and when we hear back.