Why is the FBI investigating CSGO's match-fixing?

Why is the FBI investigating CSGO's match-fixing?
image via FBI

The esports watchdog has been swinging the ban hammer left and right.

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive match-fixing controversy has been exacerbated as the players under investigation find themselves on the radar of Riot Games and the FBI.

ESIC investigations into misconduct in sports have rocked the CSGO universe as the watchdog hit players left and right with the ban hammer. After training the abuse of insects, the Australian players banned the waves; ESIC now presents a betting syndicate in North America, with ESEA MDL at its center.

ESIC has been actively investigating match-fixing allegations against CSGO professional players during the ESL Mountain Dew League 2020. The investigation is finally gaining ground as more incriminating evidence has begun to emerge. According to ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith, the FBI is also involved in the investigation, which could slow down official updates on the Internet.


In early September 2020, ESIC cited up to 15 ongoing investigations that they believe are of great importance. Just a month after the official release, the players fell into the clutches of an ongoing investigation as a result of the October 2020 match-fixing. The findings were crucial enough that the FBI's involvement became imperative.

The news had sparked a frenzy among the esports community that has rarely seen the FBI take an interest in events in the world of video games. The FBI operates under the US Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and handles sports gambling cases. Under RICO, the FBI has indicted 14 men related to Qatar's winning bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. On the CSGO professional scene, the funny matter has drawn the attention of the agency, which will now bypass the investigation.

“We are working to some extent with law enforcement and the FBI, which recently set up a sports betting investigative unit within the FBI. They are good, but they are inexperienced because sports betting hasn't really been a thing in America until recently, so everyone is finding their feet in it. "Said Ian Smith.

WHAT REALLY WENT DOWN? 

ESIC member Ian Smith revealed that CSGO's watchdog has been assisting the FBI in investigating match-fixing cases in the North American CSGO. The initial statement established the basics, but the new developments justify the FBI's interest.

The commissioner said ESIC obtained evidence that revealed it was not their generic betting activity, but organized betting syndicates were "bribing" a group of players at ESL MDL. In this case, bettors knew the outcome of the game in advance to get a higher profit. Upon further investigation, Dust.us released an audio recording, which confirmed ESIC's claims.

Players who participated in ESEA MDL Season 35 openly discussed their plans to make the fixed match look "legitimate." The conversation between Sebastian "⁠retchy⁠" Tropiano, Carson "⁠nosraC⁠" O’Reilly and Kevin "⁠4pack⁠" Przypasniak revealed that the then Rebirth trio had planned to lose a game against Russian Canadians, which they later missed. The ongoing conversation was of 4pack compelling for me to release another game, during which a few other names were mentioned.

According to the leaked recording, Alex "vek" Voynov and David "J0LZ" Jolin were also complicit in the plan, with the former agreeing to share their radar to change the outcome of the game. The other two Russian Canadian players, Dylan “⁠Saturn⁠” Finch and Ian “⁠battery⁠” Yates, were kept in the dark to ensure that the game seemed “legitimate to try hard”. In return, retchy said that he would share his winnings from the Bitcoin gambling site with the leader in the opponents game, vek.

Transcript of the recording:

retchy: We have been planning to lose this game for the past five days; makes the most sense in all MDL games. You need that win, we don't need a win, and with your IGL on the radar and you off the server, it really looks guaranteed.

nosraC: I don't know if Vek will agree with the radar.

retchy: It does, it accesses the radar. On the condition that you allow you to use two Bitcoin sites, and I will share the profits from those two sites. And J0LZ agrees too. And they are not. I told them there is no way you would say the battery or Saturn, it has to look like a legitimate test kit.

4pack: Okay, whatever. But I'm not going to set up the game incognito, I told you.

retchy: I know, I don't think you should, you should join while Shrek is playing, like three rounds.

Consequently, all five players involved in those two particular games have been suspended by ESEA. Before all the leaks and reports, vek had issued a statement of his own, dismissing the alleged recordings as flimsy evidence and detached himself from the situation. However, several top-tier players verified the authenticity before it was publicized, prompting ESEA to make the big decision.

“There's no evidence that I'm personally okay with anything (because I'm not involved at all). This person says my name, I don't know why. I can't control whose name they say and for what reason, ”Vek said.

It may seem like a story from the past, but suspensions have a huge impact on some of the players involved. Retchy and NosraC remain active CSGO players, currently playing for ChocoCheck, while Vex and JoLz play for OCG. Both teams should compete in the ESEA Premier playoffs but the suspension changes everything.

RIOT IS TAKING MATCH SETTLEMENT CLAIMS SERIOUSLY

It's no secret that banned, suspended and abandoned CSGO players have found a safe haven on Valorant. Tons of similarities between the two shooters have made the switch easy for former CSGO players. Several professionals under ESIC's investigation are allegedly playing for Valorant's professional teams, so the matter has spread further into the Riot shooter.

According to a report from Dexerto, Riot Games has launched a private investigation into players from other games. The research will include players who have had extensive professional experience in CSGO. The initiative makes sense, as Ryan "Shanks" Ngo and Kevin "prepared" Ngo continue to play for Valorant despite allegations of match-fixing and rumors of being on the ESIC roster. Both players were eliminated by Dignitas after a short but successful stint, leaving fans confused. While the team did not reveal the reason behind the drop, CSGO's drama surrounding the two could have been a contributing factor.

More news and suspensions will be forthcoming soon as the investigation is still ongoing. Reports are published more slowly due to the involvement of the FBI and the restriction on sharing on the Internet. Rest assured, the investigation is sure to remove the CSGO and Valorant professional scene from the bad guys.

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