As the first CIS CS:GO RMR event of the season, giving teams from the region a shot at qualifying for the Stockholm Major, the EPIC League CIS Spring 2021 tournament was a massive deal. However, the exciting matches were a bit soured due to various issues, including several allegations of cheating lodged against Akuma. It went as far as 15 CIS teams signing an open letter to Valve asking for further investigation. Now, the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has found potential evidence of match-fixing and/or betting fraud in relation to Akuma at EPIC League CIS 2021.
Akuma match-fixing and betting fraud evidence
First of all, it is important to note ESIC only found potential evidence and had no insight into the operation of the tournament. ESIC further doesn't have any jurisdiction over the tournament, as EPIC is not an ESIC-member organization.
ESIC has also not taken steps to investigate the extent of integrity threats in the event. With that in mind, ESIC has found potential evidence and has sent this evidence to Valve.
ESIC refers evidence indicating potential match-fixing and betting fraud in RMR event to Valve.— ESIC (@ESIC_Official) June 9, 2021
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 explains in their report: "ESIC has made a referral to Valve including substantial evidence indicating the existence of potential betting fraud perpetrated by individuals participating or associated with those who were participating in the CIS RMR event run by EPIC."
ESIC received evidence from its Global Suspicious Betting Alert Network (SBAN) that the CEO of Project X, Oleksandr Shyshko, has "an active CSGO betting account and has placed numerous bets on highly suspicious Project X matches (when most of the current Akuma roster were playing as Project X) and, crucially, made accurate pre-match bets on the outcome of the Virtus Pro v Akuma match in the CIS RMR."
The Virtus.pro vs Akuma match is where many of the public cheating allegations emerged from during and after EPIC League CIS.
So why is this a big deal? Couldn't Oleksandr Shyshko just get lucky with some bets on Akuma? Well, Akuma was ranked 138th in the world at the time, and betting on them to win against Virtus.pro would be like hoping a coin flips lands on heads 10 times in a row, just to give you an idea of the chances of Akuma winning. Akuma also beat Na'Vi 2-0, just for reference...
Ian Smith, the Commissioner of ESIC, explains: "While ESIC has not undertaken a full investigation into the detail, extent, and validity of any particular instances of match-fixing behaviour and the perpetrators of such behaviour – information on hand would indicate that this is a matter worth investigating further; certainly, if ESIC did have jurisdiction, we would have opened a full investigation based on what we already know. ESIC has therefore referred the evidence available to us to Valve for further consideration."
ESIC has further recommended that until the outcome of a possible investigation by Valve, or if Valve asks them to investigate this ordeal further, ESIC-member tournament organizers shouldn't accept entries from Akuma, or even a roster made up of more than three current Akuma players.
Further, tournament organizers also should accept entries from teams associated with Oleksandr Shyshko.
This is a developing story. At the time of writing, Valve has not publically responded to the potential evidence of match-fixing and/or betting fraud relating to Akuma and Oleksandr Shyshko.
Now, we sit and wait, counting chickens until we know more.
Don't forget to check out our dedicated section for CS:GO tournament guides, news and articles about pro teams.