Astralis fined $100k for conflict of interest over HUNDEN relationship


The Executive Board of the Louvre Agreement has imposed a fine of $100,000 on Astralis in a conflict of interest case involving CS:GO coach and analyst HUNDEN.

The Executive Board of the Louvre Agreement, a partnership between ESL and 15 organizations, announced that an independent investigation 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.”

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The case in question refers to Nicolai ‘HUNDEN’ Petersen, who was coaching Heroic at the time, Astralis’ Danish rival. The 32-year-old was Astralis’ priority to take over the team as head coach Danny ‘zonic’ Sørensen was entering the final months of his contract with the organization.

Independent reporter Richard Lewis revealed earlier this year that HUNDEN was offered a coaching role by Astralis in March 2021. He would sign the document the following month.

“It [Astralis] did not report this to league authorities and the competing team itself,” a statement from the Executive Board read. “This was found to be a breach of the regulations of the Louvre Agreement.”

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According to the Executive Board, the inquiry determined that “no competition or match results were impacted” by HUNDEN’s actions.

HUNDEN was in August 2021 slapped with a two-year ban by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) for this case. According to the esports watchdog’s investigation, HUNDEN was found guilty of sharing sensitive information with a competitor ahead of IEM Cologne without Heroic’s knowledge.

ESIC’s findings showed that, at the time the material was shared, HUNDEN was already negotiating a move to Astralis. Though the files were never accessed by the recipient, his actions still “created a threat to the integrity of the tournament” and to the “reputation and competitive integrity of esports, and ESIC’s member ESL.”

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In December 2022, ESIC announced that HUNDEN’s ban had been lifted following an in-person meeting between the two parties. The Danish coach agreed to undertake “relevant training”, while the esports watchdog pledged to “review its policies and procedures to ensure they are consistent with good industry practice and fit for purpose”.

Astralis and HUNDEN respond to fine

The CEO of Astralis, Anders Horsholt, admitted to being “surprised and disappointed” with the conclusion of the inquiry, but accepted the verdict, stressing that his organization “worked closely and collaboratively” with the ESL Pro League Commissioner’s Office throughout the process.

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In a statement posted on Twitter, HUNDEN stressed that the investigation “concluded that there was no ground for sanctioning me.”

“I have cooperated fully with ESL and their third-party investigators in their examination of the events by providing all necessary documents and participating in relevant interviews, and I have spent a substantial amount of my own time and resources into this investigation,” HUNDEN said.

The Danish coach added that his recent departure from Astralis is not connected to the outcome of this investigation. He left his post as Astralis’ head analyst on June 21 after six months as the Danish organization made a number of changes to its staff and CS:GO team. In August 2022, Dexerto reported that Astralis had maintained a working relationship with HUNDEN while he was still serving his ESIC ban.

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