The Esports Integrity Commission claims that it has obtained evidence that proves suspicious betting around Akuma’s core squad, which previously played in Project X.
The watchdog group alleges it has discovered a connection between Project X CEO Oleksandr Shyshko and a betting account that made repeated successful bets surrounding his team including a controversial match in the Epic League CIS RMR event. The evidence has been forwarded to Valve for the company to potentially take action.
ESIC refers evidence indicating potential match-fixing and betting fraud in RMR event to Valve.
ESIC has made a referral to Valve including substantial evidence indicating the existence of potential betting fraud in the CIS RMR event run by EPIC.
— ESIC (@ESIC_Official) June 9, 2021
The ESIC claims that Shyshko has made accurate pre-match bets on the outcome of the Virtus.pro vs. Akuma match. The game in question is the one in which Akuma upset the eighth-ranked team in the world. While AWPer Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and other players called out EPIC League and Akuma for cheating during the CIS RMR matches, the ESIC claims the issues run even deeper than that.
According to the ESIC, Akuma’s core has played in Project X games in which Shyshko accurately placed bets. The team was later disbanded. However, the leading players are currently playing under the Akuma tag. The owner has an active CSGO betting account and has allegedly placed numerous bets on potentially suspicious Project X matches, ESIC found out from its global Suspicious Betting Alert Network.
Since EPIC Esports Events, which is the company behind Epic League and the Epicenter event series in both CSGO and Dota 2, is not a member of ESIC the watchdog isn’t positioned to take direct action, but it instead forwarded its findings to Valve. The ESIC further explained that it would open an official investigation if the organization had jurisdiction to do so.
“While ESIC has not undertaken a full investigation into the detail, extent, and validity of any particular instances of match-fixing behavior and the perpetrators of such behavior, information on hand would indicate that this is a matter worth investigating further,” Ian Smith, ESIC commissioner said.
EPIC’s CIS regional major ranking event had been marred by various public controversies. An alleged lack of competitive integrity measures was brought to light by CSGO pros like s1mple, who heavily criticized the EPIC league for having “no anti-cheat, no TeamSpeak record, no replays, no info about future matches.” The allegations were further cemented by NaVi’s coach Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy, and ForZe player Alexandr “zorte” Zagodyrenko, who said they were positive Akuma was cheating in their matches.
Following the public uproar, 15 teams turned their suspicions into written form and requested Valve investigate the matter. The teams believed that Akuma players “received live match data from third parties on external devices.” Soon after the turmoil, Akuma’s performance looked much different on the server as the team faced losses against Gambit and Virtus.pro.
While Valve likely hasn’t yet opened an investigation, ESIC’s findings certainly suggest that there was something afoot in the tournament.