Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Akuma deny team involvement in betting on own matches

Dmitriy “⁠SENSEi⁠” Shvorak has posted a statement on behalf of Akuma, responding to ESIC receiving evidence of the former Project X CEO Oleksandr Shyshko having placed bets on “highly suspicious Project X matches” at a time when the core of Akuma represented the organization.

The 22-year-old AWPer, who was playing under Project X in the matches in question, has denied his team’s involvement in betting on their own matches, adding that the players “cannot be responsible for our ex-CEO’s activities on betting websites.” The team has also offered to provide ESIC with all necessary information.

SENSEi & co. are ready to cooperate with the investigation

Although ESIC has brought the case to light after receiving evidence of Shyshko’s betting activities through the Suspicious Betting Alert Network (SBAN), the commission is not currently planning on launching a full investigation into the matter, as it does not have the jurisdiction to do so given that the tournament organizers responsible for the matches in question are not partnered with ESIC. Instead, the esports watchdog has referred the evidence to Valve “for further consideration.”

The information has placed Akuma under heavy fire from the community, adding to the widespread suspicions that the Ukrainian side were receiving live match data to gain an unfair advantage during their matches at the EPIC League CIS Regional Major Ranking event, in which they secured convincing victories over Natus Vincere and en route to third place. Several high-profile figures in the CIS region share the suspicions of foul play, including the vast majority of the teams who took part in the tournament, who have called on Valve to investigate the allegations and enforce strict protocols to help prevent live match data from being abused at future events.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

ESIC forwards evidence to Valve related to potential betting fraud in Project X, Akuma matches

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) have received evidence that Oleksandr Shyshko, the CEO of Project X, has an active CS:GO betting account and has placed “numerous bets on highly suspicious Project X matches”. The betting took place at a time when most of the current Akuma roster was playing under the Project X organization, which disbanded and ceased operations in March.

ESIC adds that Shyshko also made an accurate pre-match bet on the outcome of Virtus.proAkuma in EPIC League CIS 2021, a game at the center of cheating allegations aimed at the team led by Sergey “⁠Sergiz⁠” Atamanchuk. ESIC has forwarded the evidence received to Valve, and recommends ESIC-member Tournament Organizers to not include Akuma, a team made up of more than three current Akuma members, or any team associated with Oleksandr Shyshko in their competitions until an investigation is concluded.

ESIC forwarded evidence of potential betting fraud to Valve

The evidence was acquired through the Suspicious Betting Alert Network (SBAN), with ESIC determining that there was a “reasonable basis to believe that potential match-fixing and/or betting fraud behaviour was perpetrated”. As the tournaments in which the actions happened are not ESIC members, ESIC referred the matter to Valve for consideration.

“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,” the commissioner of ESIC, Ian Smith, explained in a statement.

“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,” Smith adds.

In the announcement, ESIC clarifies that it has “not sanctioned, nor does it currently plan to sanction any individual associated with its referral,” as they do not have the authority to conduct a full investigation. Unless otherwise instructed by Valve, their actions will be limited to “the referral of evidence, recommendations to members, and this statement”.

Akuma, an orgless, all-Ukrainian squad featuring AWPer Dmitriy “⁠SENSEi⁠” Shvorak, came into the spotlight in May. At the first CIS Regional Major Ranking (RMR) event of 2021, as the 12th highest seed at the tournament, Akuma made it to the playoffs and secured 2-0 victories over Natus Vincere and, placing third overall. Shortly after, clips from the tournament broadcast started to surface, pointing out suspicious eye movement and suggesting that players are gaining info from a second device.

Notable CIS players and community members, including Natus Vincere coach Andrey “⁠B1ad3⁠” Gorodenskiy, soon made their accusations public, after which fourteen of the sixteen teams that participated in EPIC League CIS released an open letter calling on Valve to investigate Akuma. The group suspects that the team “received live [match] data from third parties on external devices” in order to gain an unfair advantage, putting the competitive integrity and the results at the Major-qualifying event under question.

While another investigation involving Akuma adds more fuel to the public outrage against the Ukrainian team, ESIC’s findings have not verified the suspicions regarding them having access to live match data in the games played in the CIS RMR tournament.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Akuma shock NAVI in EPIC League CIS

Natus Vincere suffered a shocking defeat in their first playoffs game in EPIC League CIS as Akuma swept them aside with a near-flawless Mirage (16-2) and confident Dust2 (16-10).

The best-rated player of the group stage, Dmitriy “⁠SENSEi⁠” Shvorak, stepped up to the task once again. The AWPer posted a server-high 1.49 rating across the two maps, spearheading an impressive team performance from the all-Ukrainian squad currently ranked 47th in the world.

s1mple’s struggled to make an impact on Mirage

On the other hand, Natus Vincere continue to blow hot and cold as the DreamHack Masters Spring champions first dropped a series to Entropiq in the group stage of the RMR event, and have now been outclassed by Akuma.

Additionally, the team’s superstar Aleksandr “⁠s1mple⁠” Kostyliev recorded his worst map since joining the squad, posting merely a 0.20 rating on Mirage. Still, the “Black and Yellow” are not out of the tournament, as they will be looking to redeem themselves in the lower bracket where they face forZe in an elimination match on Wednesday at 19:00