Earlier on Tuesday, Cho Gyu-Nam resigned as Griffin director from League of Legends champions Korea team following strong allegations of how he mishandled a contract transfer, and a team of South Korean media members also confirmed in a statement that he threatened to substitute jungler Seo “Kavani” Jin-hyeok.
Amidst the heat of investigation opened on October 17, due to the concerns raised by two Korean lawmakers, Riot Games’ South Korean and Chinese branches, and the Korean e-Sports Association (KeSPA) about the mishandling of contract transfer, Cho Gyu-Nam resigned from Griffin.
Serious allegations made by cvMax
Former Griffin head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho made some serious allegations which led to the Riot investigation. cvMax claimed on a Livestream broadcast that substitute jungler Seo “Kavani” Jin-hyeok, who played for Griffin even though he was a minor, was threatened by Griffin director Cho and forced to sign a five-year agreement with JD Gaming, who during the 2019 season he had been loaned to.
Kavani had just turned 19 earlier this month, and the South Korean law states that a person is considered a minor until they turn 19 and given the circumstances, only meant that he was loaned out and forced to sign his contract as a minor, which are points to support the contention in the investigation.
In a Sports Chosun interview on Tuesday, Cho Gyu-Nam disputed cvMax’s allegations and in turn, accused former head coach of being abusive towards Griffin’s players. And according to former Los Angeles Valiant interpreter Andrew Kim’s translated report on twitter, Griffin director Cho Gyu-Nam has expressed his intention to sue both cvMax and Kavani.
Two South Korean members of the Bareumirae party, Ha Tae-Kyung and Lee Dong-Seop, had also raised concerns about the issue.
On October 21, Ha Tae-Kyung submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to investigate the disagreement. The ministry later denied that proposal, saying that it did not have any legal right to look into tournaments hosted by private organizations like Riot Games.
Riot will further look into possible threats made by Cho
Riot Games released a report in the meantime on October 29, listing a few of its findings from a pile of chat logs, individual testimonies, and documents they had put together from the parties involved. According to Riot Games, JD Gaming, and Seo “Kavani” Jin-hyeok did not break any tampering rules but does not deny the fact that the Griffin team did violate the rule by exceeding the maximum number of players to be loaned out to other teams. Griffin also broke Riot’s rules by allowing Kavani’s contract to exceed the three-year mark. In a report, Riot Games said that they would continue to look into allegations of Kavani being threatened by Cho and forced by Griffin officials into signing a biased contract with JD Gaming.
Ha Tae-Kyung took to facebook in a series of posts aimed at Riot Games, with claims that the game developer has refused to fairly put together an investigation as an unbiased party. After Riot Games released their interim report, Ha threatened to investigate Riot because the full investigation, in his opinion, was not fair. In one of his posts, he said, “Riot has released their interim report on the investigation on the ‘Kavani Incident,’ Ill describe it in one sentence—‘They are watching out for each other’s backs.’ A few days ago, I said that the investigation will not have satisfactory results because Riot is also a party of interest in this incident. I believe this has indeed been the case. No, it’s even worse than I had thought.”
“I’m leaving it with a warning because this is an interim report. However, when the final report comes, and there is even one difference between the investigation and what I have confirmed, you must brace yourself.”
Member of the Bareumirae party, Lee Dong-seop had also proposed a bill to the National Assembly that would make sure that the ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, along with the South Korean fair Trade Commission, would provide guidelines and rules to govern esports players contracts.
Riot Games is yet to release their finals findings in the investigation of the allegations leveled against Griffin and Cho Gyu-nam. The Griffin team also competed in the World Championship League of Legends in berlin and Madrid and were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the tournament by Invictus Gaming.