Officers from Norway’s economic crime unit Økokrim raided the offices of The Secret World developer Funcom today as part of an investigation into allegations of shady bookkeeping.
According to information on the OSE’s website, the government “has charged Funcom N.V. based on 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 the view of Økokrim, there also exists a probability that the company has not maintained the required log of information within the company during that time.”
According to the OSE Funcom is fully cooperating with the investigation. Meanwhile, employees have been sent home.
After disappointing sales of The Secret World, Funcom saw a sharp decline in its share value leading to studio closures and the layoff of half the company’s staff, including the MMO’s lead designer.
The company is currently developing the licensed MMO LEGO Minifigures Online.
In 2012 former CEO Trond Arne Aas was investigated for insider trading after he sold 650,000 shares of the company following his resignation one day before the launch of The Secret World and just months prior to the huge dip in Funcom share prices.
The Norwegian company also holds the rights to Dreamfall Chapters, the Kickstarter-backed title currently under development by Red Thread Games. Whether that game is at risk due to the current investigation remains to be seen. But the larger picture for Funcom is decidedly bleak.