Hans Pandeya, CEO of Global Gaming Factory X--the company attempting to acquire The Pirate Bay and now steeped in controversy, says he has revealed the names of his financial backers to The Los Angeles Times.
Since announcing on June 30 his company's plan to acquire The Pirate Bay, Pandeya has declined to provide the names of his investors, who he has said will put up 60 million Swedish Kroner, or about $8.5 million, to fund the acquisition.
The news that surfaced in the past week has called Pandeya's credibility into question.
Swedish stock exchange AktieTorget on Friday halted trading in Global Gaming's shares when it did not receive all the information it requested about the company's finances, according to reports in Swedish newspaper SvD. Separately, SvD reported that Swedish authorities have launched a criminal investigation into possible insider trading related to an inexplicable jump in Global Gaming's share price a week before the company announced its intention to buy The Pirate Bay. Questions have also been raised about the financial health of Global Gaming and of Pandeya himself, who is the company's largest shareholder. Both he and the company are wrestling with debt, former Global Gaming CTO Johan Sellstrom told CNET News.
Global Gaming CEO."
In a lengthy e-mail exchange with CNET on Friday, Pandeya said that besides turning over investors' names to officials from the stock market, he has also given the names to Ben Fritz, a media reporter with the LA Times.
"I put The Los Angeles Times in touch with one of them who confirmed the investment," Pandeya wrote. "I also provided (Fritz) with the name of the investment bank that is managing the investors provided they did not disclose this. So, the DD (Pandeya presumably means "due diligence") regarding this has been done. Now, the stock market wanted the names...and I gave them the name of the investment bank (that) confirmed that the money was in place. Now, Ben Fritz and the Swedish stock market know the name of the investment bank (besides the investors and us)."
AktieTorget officials confirmed in a statement posted online that they did speak with someone claiming to be an investor. Officials, however, wanted more documentation and it was unavailable Friday. AktieTorget won't allow trading to resume in Global Gaming until it receives more proof that the money for the acquisition is secure.
In a phone interview, Fritz declined to comment and would only refer me to a July 31 story he co-wrote about Global Gaming with Times reporter Dawn Chmielewski titled "Pirate Bay deal surrounded by Hollywood-style headaches."
The report mentions that Global Gaming "has commitments from more than 30 private investors to provide the approximately $4 million cash portion of (The Pirate Bay) acquisition." The newspaper report does not cite its source for this information nor does it mention anywhere that the reporters spoke to any of the company's financial backers.
A review of Latimes.com did not turn up any other stories by Fritz about Global Gaming or The Pirate Bay.
I asked Pandeya for the names of the investors under the same terms he offered to Fritz, and I promised not to write about them until after Thursday. That's the day he has said The Pirate Bay acquisition will be completed.
"We agreed to keep their names confidential until after the acquisition because they are confused and strongly concerned by the blasting I have received in media," Pandeya wrote. "I am worried that they will back out if journalists start scrutinizing them."
But if this is the case, then why would he give the names to Fritz? Why wouldn't Fritz weigh in on the controversy if he had this information? There are lots of questions still unanswered about Global Gaming.
Still, none of the questions is bigger than this one: what will become of The Pirate Bay if the acquisition falls through?