16 people have been implicated in the StarCraft cheating scandal that rocked the e-sports world last month – three brokers, two individuals who “used inside information” to place bets, and a whopping eleven current and former pro-gamers.
Of those 16, one has been arrested, and seven have been charged with minor offences and will go through an “informal trial” (fines of up to 5 million won plus confiscation of any illegal proceeds), while one pro-gamer who is now in the military will go through a military trial, and two more gamers are among the six who have been indicted without detention and will have to face a criminal trial.
As we mentioned previously, it is illegal to release the full names of people acused of criminal activity, but family names are apparently okay, and when you combine those with some details of the crimes… we’ve dug up a list of who was allegedly involved. And yes, saviOr is among them.
The story goes that “Mr. Ma” (assumed to be saviOr) had a friendship with the three brokers – a gaming academy owner, a soccer pro and a “gangster” – and these three men used the knowledge gained through this friendship to offer other gamers up to 6.5 million won (US$6,500) to intentionally lose matches. It is said that twelve games were tampered with. The plot thickens when you learn that two of these brokers earned an alleged total of 140 million won through betting on the fixed matches through e-sports gambling websites. (For those playing at home, 1000 South Korean won is roughly 88 US cents.)
This all apparently started in December 2009, when Mr. Ma and the soccer player paid “Mr. Jin” (pro-gamer Hwasin) to lose a match – the first of several. The story continues that Mr. Ma “skimmed off” money from these bribe payments to line his own pockets – to the tune of more than 2 million won.
Last September, pro-gamer “Mr. Won” (Justin) deliberately lost his match to receive 3 million won from a broker – and then went on to work with the brokers to bribe six other gamers. Mr. Won and now-arrested gaming academy owner Mr. Park pooled their money, winning Mr. Won a tidy 35 million won as his share.
That wasn’t enough for Mr. Park, who then blackmailed the gamers involved, demanding they repay the money he paid them or else he’d go and tell their team directors about the thrown matches. These threats netted Mr. Park around 8 million won.
Mr. Park and the six other pro-gamers involved through Mr. Ma and Mr. Won have all agreed to between one and three cases of match-fixing. After further investigation, their coaches, managers and other team members were found not to be involved.
This is all still unfolding, with allegations and accusations surrounding some of the biggest names in the professional gaming circuit.
One pro-gamer, Type-B has taken to Cyworld, a Korean social networking site, to admit his guilt and apologise to his fans:
“I am sorry. Due to a hasty mistake, I have disappointed many people. I have nothing to say on this matter, and I do not have any intention of being forgiven. I will be entering military service on the 31st of May, and it seems like I am running away from the truth. I can only say that I will do my best to reflect on my actions and to be discharged as a better, more rationale person. I am truly sorry once again.”
– Mun “type-b” Sung Jin
Update: Fellow gamer go.go has also apologised, in Korean.
Other names on the “essentially confirmed” list include: sAviOr, Justin, Hwasin, DarkElf, go.go, Luxury and Yarnc.
Wi Jae-cheon, a head prosecutor for the case, seems disappointed:
“These gamers lacked the opportunity for education, which builds character, and instead isolated themselves in this game. They were found to have participated in these schemes without any guilt.”
Due to legal privacy restrictions and Korean human rights laws, further details on this case are pretty hard to come by – anyone close to the case or who might be involved in the gaming industry is keeping well away from it until the courts come to a decision. Until then, take everything with a grain of salt and stay tuned – we’ll keep you up to date.
Hat tip, as always, to Team Liquid.