Business

The new chief executive of beleaguered Dutch football club Ajax is facing the sack for alleged insider trading.

Officials said they intended to fire Alex Kroes after it emerged he bought more than 17,000 shares in the club just a week before his appointment to the role was announced last August.

“The supervisory board sought external legal advice, which indicates that he likely engaged in insider trading. Insider trading is a criminal offence,” the Amsterdam side said in a statement.

Michael van Praag, chairman of the club’s supervisory board, added: “We are deeply dismayed that this has occurred at Ajax, as it is highly detrimental to the club and everyone who holds it dear to them.”

Mr Kroes only started in the job last month as a permanent replacement for former chief executive – and legendary goalkeeper – Edwin van der Sar.

Image:
The Dutch side have had a disappointing season. Pic: AP

In a statement on LinkedIn, Mr Kroes denied wrongdoing and said he “cannot simply accept this decision of the supervisory board.”

The 49-year-old confirmed he bought shares shortly before his appointment – in addition to shares he already held in the club.

Mr Kroes added: “I thought it would be a positive sign to express confidence in the club and to shareholders.

“I believe that you express confidence to your fellow shareholders and stakeholders when you buy shares yourself and therefore also run financial risks yourself. ‘Skin in the game,’ as it’s called.”

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It comes after a difficult few months for the four-time European champions.

Coach Maurice Steijn was fired earlier in the season after the side slumped into the relegation zone.

Ajax have since risen to fifth in the Dutch top-flight Eredivisie league but are 28 points behind runaway leaders PSV Eindhoven.

Mr Kroes, a former director at Eredivisie clubs Go Ahead Eagles and AZ Alkmaar, told Dutch media he would now seek a judgment by financial watchdog AFM, which oversees share trading in the country.

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