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Ubisoft executives fined millions for alleged insider trading

Of course, the company says it will appeal these charges.

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters
Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters
Timothy J. Seppala
Timothy J. Seppala|@timseppala|December 9, 2016 4:31 PM

In addition to a looming hostile takeover, Ubisoft corporate has to deal with over a million Euros in fines for alleged insider trading. The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) has levied a combined €1.27 million (almost $1.4 million) fine against Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat and VP of corporate affairs Francis Baillet. Executive director of worldwide studios Christine Burgess, Ubisoft Montreal VP of executive operations Olivier Paris and Damien Moret, who's the director of brand development for the company were also named.

According to French publication Les Echos (translated), the country's stock market regulators found that those named sold stock in the company prior to the announcement that Watch Dogs and The Crew would be delayed out of the holiday release window in 2013. The news of those delays sent Ubisoft stock plummeting some 26 percent.

In a statement, Ubisoft told Engadget that it believes its employees acted in good faith and that the company is "convinced" that no one intentionally committed any "acts contrary to market regulations." The firm says that the AMF's move "represents a serious misunderstanding" of the game development and publishing process, saying that this sort of thing is "common" to the video game industry.

"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," the statement said.

"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."

Mallat said that the accused employees will appeal this decision.

"We remain convinced that the whole process is unjustified, unfounded and illegal," he said.

These allegations almost makes you wonder if the company actually did know what it did was illegal. Hence, pushing Assassin's Creed: Unity out the door the next year despite some seriously horrific and performance-affecting bugs.

Ubisoft executives fined millions for alleged insider trading