The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) released Monday public documents detailing the methods and outcomes from their latest investigation into the behavior of banned CSGO coach Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen. The documents, which are the result of extensive research and investigation by the regulatory body, paint a damning picture of a man whose reputation already lies in tatters, while for the most part absolving players of responsibility for the cheating that occurred.
The summary of the document is clear that at least four of the players involved with Heroic under Petersen’s coaching have no case to answer in regards to the allegations made by their ex-coach in the wake of his exposure. Rene “TeSeS” Madsen, Casper “cadiaN” Moller, Johannes “b0RUP” Borup or Martin “stavn” Lund are all listed as having ‘no case to answer’, with ESIC stating they were ‘unable to find anywhere near enough evidence to reasonably conclude that these four players were guilty of any offense’ having investigated the claims made by Petersen.
There is, however, a case to answer for Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen, formerly of Heroic but now under the OG banner, according to ESIC. However, in the course of their investigation into the crimes of the then-Heroic team, ESIC has uncovered not just the way in which Kristensen was guilty, but yet more proof that Petersen manipulated his players in an effort to assuage himself of blame.
ESIC has found that Niko was complicit and aware of the cheating being perpetrated by his former coach, based on an admission of the same from the player himself. While he will be sanctioned, there is no ban for the player, while instead faces a public slap on the wrist and some educational meetings with ESIC over the next few months, which are aimed at helping him avoid such issues in the future.
Specifically, Niko is guilty of breaching the ESIC Code of Conduct Articles 2.4.4 and 2.4.5 (level 4 offenses). 2.4.4 is the section related to ‘Cheating or attempting to cheat to win a Game or Match’, while 2.4.5 is the more controversial part of their rules, which states ‘Where the facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any of the above offenses, conduct that brings Esport, the Game, Event, ESIC or a Member into disrepute.’
What is most damning here does not in fact relate to Kristensen, but instead Petersen, with the ESIC investigation forcing the player to reveal he is neurodivergent and has been diagnosed with ADHD and Aspergers. This, according to experts consulted by ESIC in the course of their investigation, would significantly impact his ability to make moral judgements, making him heavily dependent on people he trusts in matters such as these.
This is more problematic when put into the context of Niko's guilt, and the fact the proof of this was provided by Petersen in the shape of a recording of a call between the two. The ESIC investigation makes it clear those investigating the case believe HUNDEN was not only aware of Niko's condition, but exploited that knowledge and the trust HUNDEN put in him, in an attempt to incriminate players and deflect blame from himself.
“I have found myself increasingly sympathetic to Mr. Kristensen’s position in this matter in light of his conditions and personality. In particular, I believe that the much-publicised text and phone conversations in July 2021 with Mr. Petersen demonstrates that Mr. Kristensen was ruthlessly manipulated and set up by Mr. Petersen in an attempt to force Mr. Kristensen to verbally commit to a position which would incriminate both himself and his former teammates. The transcripts, when read in isolation, are damning and were, to a high degree, the basis on which I initially decided that the information provided by Mr. Petersen to ESIC justified an investigation.”
In the dog house
With this in mind, and the fact that the Commissioner specifically states that in his view ‘Mr. Kristensen is being set up to aid Mr. Petersen’s agenda to cause harm to Heroic’, the main culprit in the case once again looks to be HUNDEN. Having managed to persuade ESIC they had a case to investigate, he has only really been successful in exposing the fact he is not just a cheat, but is also not above manipulating a neurodivergent former colleague in an attempt to deflect blame from himself, in this case unsuccessfully, due to the evidence he himself provided.
Other claims made by HUNDEN about players being complicit include the fact that René "TeSeS" Madsen boosted him into a position to set up the bug prior to a game, something which ESIC do not believe proves the player was aware of the reasons for performing the boost. ESIC also states that Hunden began laying the ground for exploiting the bug almost as soon as he joined the org, something they state is a common tactic used by cheats and match-fixers.
All in all, what HUNDEN had planned to be an investigation that put him in a more favourable light, and shifted some of the blame to his old team, has had the opposite effect in reality. ESIC’s report paints a picture of a situation where, on the balance of probability, only HUNDEN was aware of the extent of the cheating, and their conclusion on the wider abuse of the coaching bug is that it was possible for coaches to abuse it without players ever being aware that was the case.
On top of that, HUNDEN has been shown to have deliberately tried to manipulate and trick a vulnerable, neurodivergent former friend and colleague, and abuse his trust in an attempt to clear some of the dirt from his own name. Instead, the community now knows HUNDEN not just as a cheat, but a liar too, who tried to abuse the trust put in him by a person that cannot reliably interpret social cues, but instead only succeeded in further condemning himself to the dog-house of CSGO history.