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‘Bombshell’: Ajax suspend CEO over insider trading suspicions

It has been a horror season for Ajax
It has been a horror season for Ajax - Copyright ANP/AFP Olaf Kraak
It has been a horror season for Ajax - Copyright ANP/AFP Olaf Kraak

Ajax announced on Tuesday they were suspending CEO and chairman Alex Kroes on suspicion of insider trading, piling more woe on the Dutch giants who have endured a horror season.

The club said they had learned that Kroes bought more than 17,000 Ajax shares a week before his intended appointment was announced on August 2, 2023.

“The Supervisory Board sought external legal advice, which indicates that he likely engaged in insider trading. Insider trading is a criminal offence,” the club said in a statement.

The club’s supporters’ association said the news came as a “bombshell” to already suffering fans.

“The misery at Ajax continues and cannot be stopped… It is almost impossible to comprehend,” the association said in a blog post.

Kroes himself admitted it was “not the wisest decision” but said he had intended to send a “positive signal to radiate confidence in the club”.

He said he would not accept the decision and regretted the damage it was causing to the club.

The latest developments are yet another distraction for Ajax, which suffered the worst-ever start to a Dutch top flight season, briefly propping up the Eredivisie table, with fans’ frustration boiling over into violence.

The club of Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Dennis Bergkamp, Ajax have fought back somewhat since those dark days but still sit in an unfamiliar fifth place in the Dutch top flight.

A humiliating 28 points behind arch-rivals PSV Eindhoven, four-time European Cup champions Ajax have some work to do to even qualify for European football next season.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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