Evil Geniuses (EG), an American esports organization is facing legal charges and fighting a legal battle against Syed “SumaiL” Hassan since December 2021. The DotA 2 player is currently on trial with EG. SumaiL filed a lawsuit against EG for breaching his contract, for fraud and deceit. All these allegations made by SumaiL have been denied by EG, but there was a demand for a jury trial made which was accepted and now ongoing from November 6th 2023.
It all started back in September 2016 when SumaiL was given 400,000 preferred stock as an award as a result of securing a first runner-up position for EG at The International 2016 (TI6). Time went by and SumaiL really rose to the top of the charts in his tenure with EG, fans even called him to be the king of DotA 2. Undoubtedly, he really proved himself to be really great at DotA 2. Fast forward to 2019, EG was merged with Peak6 Strategic Capital, then the stocks that were awarded to SumaiL were converted from preferred stocks to:
- 265,338 common stocks
- 106,667 restricted common stock
Now the catch here is the name switch from ‘preferred’ to ‘common’ stock which a private company does when its shares are sold to a buyer and the initial payout is for the preferred stock whereas the price tag on the common stocks comes at a later stage. These are details that might just get lost in translation, if not paying attention to them and for SumaiL being at his position at that young age, its highly likely they put him in the dark because maybe he didn’t ask and just went ahead with it, trusting them.
So the preferred stocks after the merger were only given to Peak6 members and SumaiL’s ownership of common stock was something that they didn’t detail him on. The DotA 2 player was then given a backdated May 2019 contract in August 2019 which included a monthly salary and bonus payments until August 2020 but EG literally turned ‘evil’ and breached the contract after SumaiL was part of the team at T19. In this tournament, EG maintained a position in the top 6, and later on, they didn’t sign him for the next season probably because he was seemingly no longer an asset, EG seemed to only worry about winning and about money. SumaiL’s initial player contract was also changed which had a 90% reduced salary than before and prevented him from being part of any other competitions too except the DotA Major Qualifiers.
If he wanted, the DotA 2 player SumaiL could have terminated the contract after paying a one-time fee of $125,000 but he went ahead and signed it anyway. After these amendments in the contract, he was freed from obligations and the contract stated that he could play for other esports teams without risking his ownership stocks of EG but this wasn’t enough for SumaiL either (considering the fact that he had a good fan following and was also named as one of the Most Influential Teen in 2016 by Times). Coming to such a big platform at such a young age, he grew up to know his worth and so he is fighting today for it.
Later in November 2019, SumaiL was presented with a mutual release clause that would free him from any and all obligations with EG but it also meant that his ownership stake at EG would be jeopardized. The initial report came from Richard Lewis who also reported that in February 2020, EG proposed a “Unit Purchase Agreement” to SumaiL against his stock. A Unit Purchase Agreement is when the company buys the ownership (shares) from you in exchange of money. EG was supposed to make an initial payment of $300,000 followed by a deferment payment of $700,000 which was to be paid to SumaiL in three annual installments. There’s a catch here….these annual payments were either going to start from March 1, 2023, or AFTER SumaiL announces his RETIREMENT.
Retirement…SumaiL at the time was 24 and as good as any player, this just wasn’t the right time to announce retirement. Considering his age, he still has many years ahead of him in the esports industry.
The young DotA 2 player has claimed in his lawsuit that he was given incomplete and inaccurate information and accused EG of “obscuring the scope of Plaintiff’s purported release and concealing the impact of the agreements” forfeiture provisions and related matters”. The lawsuit also alleged that SumaiL “never received any value whatsoever for his shares and/or units, despite his long-term commitment and dedication to EG and its esports operations”. All of this was denied by EG as an allegation, hence, they’re on trial now.
Many fans have been talking about it on platforms like Twitter and Reddit showing support for SumaiL in these hard times, especially considering how he helped EG make millions when they had him under contract and now they’re just betraying him. Some even dropped opinions of EG being ‘worse than TSM (Team SoloMid)’; making the comparison because TSM and its CEO, Andy Dinh, were alleged for contract breach and bullying as well. Even N0tail stated that EG was doing good at TI only because of SumaiL, however, being blind to all of this, EG continued to deny everything and there was lots of back and forth between EG and SumaiL. It’s a pretty apparent advantage EG is trying to take out of a freshcomer in the industry, fingers crossed on how it turns out.
After all the back and forth, a conclusion for a jury trial was reached to start on 6th November 2023 and we are yet to hear more on the outcome of this whole situation. Whatever the outcome may be, SumaiL still is considered one of the top esports players of DOTA 2 and the result will definitely have a huge impact on the esports community globally.