Ubisoft Montreal chief Yannis Mallat and four other Ubisoft execs are publicly disputing allegations by the French finance market regulator AMF (Autorité des marchés financiers) that they engaged in insider trading three years ago.
As Kotaku points out, this is notable because the AMF is alleging the Ubisoft employees all sold off company stock shortly before October 15, 2013, when the company announced it was delaying the release of both Watch Dogs and The Crew, leaving a big gap in its holiday lineup.
Ubisoft's stock value dropped significantly after that announcement, and the AMF alleges that the aforementioned employees sold off their stock beforehand because they knew about the delays ahead of time.
Mallat recently told Canadian outlet La Presse that he only learned of the delay after he sold his shares, and alleged that the AMF was not handling the case correctly.
Today, Ubisoft issued a statement to Gamasutra and other media outlets outlining its support for its employees:
"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.”
It's true that the five Ubisoft employees targeted by the AMF (3 in Canada, 2 in Paris) are expected to go before the AMF Enforcement Committee in Paris on November 18th.