ESEA lifts ban on nosraC, vek, J0LZ
The North American Premier players can resume playing on the league platform after serving bans since April.
The three players were suspended from the platform in April following the release of a transcript of a leaked recording by Dust2.us, in which they were implicated in discussions about match-fixing in a conversation between Sebastian "retchy" Tropiano and Kevin "4pack" Przypasniak, both of whom remain banned on ESEA.
When reached for comment, an ESEA representative informed HLTV.org that nosraC's ban had expired at the recommendation of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), who had told ESEA to keep the ban in place "while the investigation was ongoing."
The reason for allowing J0LZ and vek's bans to elapse was not able to be confirmed by the ESEA representative, but when contacted by HLTV.org, J0LZ stated that he had received an email from ESIC in which they recommended that his suspension also be lifted.
In the leaked recording, retchy and 4pack can be heard discussing the possibility of fixing two matches in ESEA MDL Season 35 North America, one of which was against Russian Canadians. Notably, the match in question was forfeited by Russian Canadians and never took place.
Following a back-and-forth between the pair, retchy states that vek had agreed to be "on radar" for the match, meaning that he would stream his live radar perspective to Rebirth in order to fix the outcome of rounds, and that J0LZ was "okay with it."
nosraC is also briefly heard in the conversation saying that he was unsure if vek would agree to radar, which retchy refutes with the claim that vek had agreed on the condition of receiving a share of the profits from the betting websites used.
In February, prior to the contents of the recording being publicized, vek denied any involvement in the situation, saying in a statement that "there is no evidence of me personally agreeing to anything (because I am not involved at all). This person says my name, I do not know why. I cannot control whose name they say, and for what reason."
Following the release of the transcript, ESEA suspended all five players mentioned in the recording by the recommendation of ESIC, who have been investigating match-fixing in ESEA MDL since September 2020.
At the end of March, ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith revealed via an interview that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had gotten involved in the ongoing investigation, which covered two groups: one that consisted of players who bet on themselves when the opportunity struck, and a second group that had been bribed or influenced by outside "betting syndicates" to fix matches in a more organised fashion.
In the same video, Mr. Smith stated that the first set of findings from the investigation, involving players from the first group mentioned above, should be made public "within the next ten days to two weeks."
It has been nearly four months since that statement, with ESEA initially banning the five players implicated in the recording for two months, before subsequently extending the suspensions as they awaited the release of ESIC's findings.