The Korea Esports Association was the subject of the raid as an aide to its former chairman is being linked to corruption allegations, multiple South Korean outlets reported on Tuesday.
More on the Korea Esports Association raid
Details are still coming out, but here’s what we know via the Yonhap News Agency:
Prosecutors detained a former aide to the senior presidential secretary for political affairs, Jun Byung-hun, Tuesday in connection with suspicions of bribe-taking from a local home shopping channel when Jun was a lawmaker.
Investigators took the former aide, identified only by his surname Yoon, and two others into custody, and searched Yoon’s home and the office of the Korea e-Sports Association, which Jun chaired before becoming a presidential secretary earlier this year.
KeSPA received about US$270,000 in donations from Lotte Homeshopping “amid suspicions the channel gave the money to seek Jun’s influence in its efforts to renew its broadcasting license,” Yonhap reported.
Jun denied being mixed up with anything illegal to Yonhap, while KeSPA also claimed its innocence.
Lotte Homeshopping was a sponsor of the second season of the KeSPA Cup, a tournament event.
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Esports are big business in Korea
Korea is one of the hotbeds for esports of all types, including League of Legends, Dota 2, StarCraft 2 and more. Two South Korea-based teams just squared off in the LoL world championship final, for instance.
Of course, corruption and bribery in the world of sports is nothing new. One has to look no further than FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, to find multiple examples.
Still, if the allegations prove true and the charges end up implicating KeSPA directly, it would be a setback for esports as it tries to gain legitimacy. The KeSPA has been around since 2000 and has been leading the charge for treating esports the same as traditional sports.
This scandal follows news last month that KeSPA had been downgraded from an “official member” to “reserved member” of the Integrated Korean Olympic Committee.