The Changwon District Court in South Korea has denied the appeal of former StarCraft 2 progamer Lee “Life” Seung in his match-fixing case(1, 2). The original, and sustained, sentence of three years suspended jail sentence, and $61,549 USD (70,000,000 won) fine has been upheld.
There was no doubt regarding Life’s guilt, his appeal was for more a more lenient sentence. Life’s representatives tried to appeal his sentence based on his under-age status (at the time), jail time served during the prosecution process, and his permanent ban by the Korean eSports Player Association (KeSPA), South Korea’s eSports union.
The court wasn’t buying what Life was selling.
The Changwon District Court dismissed the appeal outright. Apparently, they didn’t appreciate Life’s attitude, and had already taken into account his age in the original sentencing. In the end, the huge payouts he accepted for match-fixing, his status and prestige in the StarCraft 2 scene and the subsequent damage his fall from grace has caused not only StarCraft 2, but to the credibility of eSports in general, could not be overlooked by any mitigating factors.
He didn’t need to match-fix to find financial success in StarCraft. He knew full well what it would mean if he was caught. His attitude suggests he thought he could get away with it. This was not a case for leniency, and Life has been made an example of.
And the fallout may not be over yet for Lee Seung. KeSPA may well proceed with a civil-lawsuit as a way to wipe out even more of Life’s progaming earnings, as well as setting a precedent to ward off future match-fixing. They may also strip him of all his titles, a la sAviOr in Brood War, and he most certainly will have his lifetime KeSPA banned upheld.
The message from the South Korean government, KeSPA, and the legions of StarCraft 2 fans towards Life is clear: Get Out!
I never thought I’d say this, but I hope I never have to read or write anything else concerning Life.
What a waste.
Until next time,