(Bloomberg) -- AFC Ajax NV suspended its Chief Executive Officer Alex Kroes and said it plans to dismiss him after “strong indications” of insider trading.

The club alleges that Kroes, who was also the chairman of Ajax’s executive board, purchased over 17,000 shares of the club a week before his appointment was announced on August 2. 

“Kroes’ actions are not in line with what Ajax stands for,” said Michael van Praag, chairman of the club’s supervisory board, in a statement Tuesday. “The timing of his share purchase indicates insider trading. Such a violation of the law cannot be tolerated by a publicly listed company, especially when it involves the CEO.”

Ajax, which is currently fifth in the Dutch Eredivisie during a difficult season for the club, has been grappling with managerial scandals in recent years. In September, Ajax fired its Director of Football Affairs Sven Mislintat due to “disappointing” performances, shortly after an investigation into an alleged conflict of interest arising from the transfer of a defender.

Mislintat was a successor to longtime director Marc Overmars, who had to step down in 2022 following reports about inappropriate messages sent to several female staff members.

The stock has fallen by around 9% since the time Kroes is alleged to have bought shares last year. Ajax shares were trading at around €10.3 ($11) on Tuesday, reversing an earlier decline. 

Dutch state broadcaster NOS reported that Kroes did not accept Ajax’s decision to suspend him and will seek an independent opinion from the market regulator, known as the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets. 

“I believe that you radiate confidence to your fellow shareholders and stakeholders when you buy shares and therefore also run financial risks yourself,” Kroes was cited as saying by NOS. “As much as I am convinced of my good intentions, I now understand, after consulting with my lawyer, that I did not make the most sensible decision,” he said.

Other board members will take over Kroes’ duties, according to the statement. The club will soon hold an extraordinary general meeting for shareholders.

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(Updates with Kroes’ reaction in the seventh paragraph)

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