Counter-Strike legend HeatoN guilty of carelessness in accounting fraud case, avoids jail time
A court case for one of Counter-Strike's biggest legends turned in its ruling earlier this week.
Christensen is sentenced to probation and must pay small fines for his negligence while one his two co-owners at Stockholm E-Sport Produktion AB, the company that handled operations for Ninjas in Pyjamas during the period of alleged misconduct, will serve community service equivalent to two months in prison.
That's a relief for fans of Christensen, a legendary player who led Ninjas in Pyjamas to Counter-Strike's first major international title, the Cyberathlete Professional League world championship in 2001.
The former player’s company allegedly failed to pay employment taxes for its Ninjas in Pyjamas players in 2011. The company did not deliver a required financial statement to an auditor, who then notified authorities. One of the accused owners admitted to the violation, but asserted there was no intent to commit fraud. The court seemed to agree; the sentences handed down carried minimal punishment compared to the maximum sentence.
For Christensen’s part, he gave responsibility for the company’s financial matters to his partner and checked in with him to ensure things were running smoothly, meaning he played no direct role in the fraud. But he still has a responsibility to ensure his company is abiding by the law, so while he was not directly responsible for the infraction, he did not avoid punishment.
“In light of the deficiencies that existed in the 2011 annual accounting Emil Christensen should have done more to ensure that the accounting obligations were fulfilled,” the court explained. “That he had not done so must be held against him as negligence. Emil Christensen has however, which deserves to be emphasized, ensured that the running accounting were established retrospectively when he got clear about the shortcomings that existed.”
Christensen asserted his innocence when the charges first came to light, and now feels vindicated, if he acknowledges that he must bear some responsibility. He told his former team that it’s a “relief” the court found he did not participate in the wrongdoing.
“I want all my fans who always supported me to read this and know that I have not in any way actively done something wrong,” he said. “I have been careless and satisfied with the answers I repeatedly received from the person concerned. This means I am not free completely from responsibility but shows in all cases that I have not taken part in this consciously.”
The fraud occurred before Ninjas in Pyjamas' sale to its current ownership group and majority stakeholder Diglife.
Photo via Tim Kiser/Wikimedia | Remix by Jacob Wolf| H/T Ninjas in Pyjamas