Danish esports organization Astralis has been fined $100,000 for maintaining and not reporting an existing breach of contract, the Commissioner's Office of ESL’s Louvre Agreement announced today.
In January 2023, the Commissioner's Office of the Louvre Agreement, a partnership between ESL and major CS:GO teams, was made aware of claims about a possible breach of the partnership's rules and regulations, leading to an independent investigation by the ESL Pro League’s Executive Board.
That investigation has now concluded. It found that Astralis asked for and received services from a future employee between April and July 2021, which created a conflict of interest as that party held a position of authority within a competitor team. Furthermore, Astralis did not report this possible rules breach to the league nor the competing team itself. Other claims were investigated in this process, however, no other breaches were identified.
While ESL did not go into details regarding the conflict of interest, it is widely believed to involve former Astralis analyst and Heroic coach Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen, who was previously sanctioned by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) on August 19, 2021 for sharing Heroic’s anti-strats with a competitor, widely believed to be Astrlais, ahead of IEM Cologne 2021. Additionally, further contacts between HUNDEN and Astralis while he was employed by Heroic were detailed in a series of reports by Richard Lewis titled, “The HUNDEN Files,” arguing that the Danish coach engaged in further ethical breaches.
ESIC would later overturn HUNDEN’s ban following discussions between the body and HUNDEN’s legal team that were described as “collaborative” and “good faith” discussions. This was followed by HUNDEN joining Astralis as Head Analyst in January 2023 before suddenly leaving alongside Director of Esports Kasper Hvidt in June.
"From the moment Astralis were approached by the Commissioner’s Office with regards to these allegations, we worked closely and collaboratively with them, the Executive Board and the investigators to support their process. We are equally surprised and disappointed with the conclusion of the investigation, but we believe all parties have learned a lot throughout this process, and we accept the verdict," Astralis' CEO Anders Horsholt said in relation to the ruling.