In the ongoing lawsuit against former Twitch streamer James “Phantoml0rd” Varga, the streaming platform petitioned the court to dismiss the case citing multiple grounds for doing so.
However, despite having laid out multiple legal arguments for why the case should never see the inside of a courtroom, Twitch have also petitioned the court to issue a request that a European resident is questioned should the requests for dismissal be denied. Legal documents filed earlier in the proceedings stated the case had been delayed while Twitch located a key witness from Europe to be deposed.
The witness in question is Joris Duhau, the man said to be Varga’s former business partner and the co-owner of the website CSGO Shuffle. It was publicly leaked Skype logs from his account that led to the discovery of the relationship and non-disclosed ownership of CSGO Shuffle, which Varga would advertise and play frequently on his Twitch stream.
The logs also suggested beyond any reasonable doubt that Varga could use his Joris’s level of access to see the outcome of roles and bet so the outcome was favorable or unfavorable to him as he wished. So far Duhau has never publicly spoken on his involvement with the site.
The request filed with the court reads:
“Defendant Twitch Interactive, Inc. (“Twitch”) hereby respectfully requests that this Court issue a letter of request under the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters (“Letter of Request”). Specifically, Twitch requests that the Court issue the Letter of Request to facilitate testimonial and documentary evidence of Mr. Joris Duhau.
As explained further below, Mr. Duhau will be able to provide critical, first-hand evidence about Plaintiff James Varga’s (“Varga”) affiliation with CSGOShuffle, which goes to the heart of this case. Mr. Duhau is believed to be the operator of CSGOShuffle, and Varga’s former business partner. But Mr. Duhau is located in France, beyond the jurisdiction of this or any United States Court.”
The document explains why Twitch believes deposing Mr. Duhau to be of great importance to the case, should it proceed to court.
It is Twitch’s belief that by having an explanation of the business operations and the activities Varga engaged in during his ownership and advertising of the site, this will justify the ban from the platform, should such justification be needed.
The document reads:
“In or around September 2015, during his live Twitch broadcasts, Varga started promoting a website known as CSGOShuffle. CSGOShuffle permitted individuals of any age to gamble CS:GO skins. Skins are cosmetic features that can be superimposed upon elements of the CS:GO game. A secondary-market place has developed where these skins can be cashed out on third-party websites. Valve, the publisher of CS:GO does not, under its terms, permit the secondary-market place for skin gambling and cash-outs with real-world value…
Varga’s promotions included a CS:GO skins “giveaway” in June 2016, whereby he gave away at least $100,000 worth of CS:GO skins to subscribers of his Twitch channel by referring those subscribers to CSGOShuffle. During the giveaway, Plaintiff broadcasted videos of himself playing and “winning” jackpots on CSGOShuffle. As a result, Twitch users were enticed to participate in lotteries on CSGOShuffle. As set forth below, however,
Varga and Duhau secretly conspired to rig these lotteries to their own financial benefit, a scheme which was reported by the industry press and subsequently became one of the main reasons for Varga’s termination.”
The request also specifically states that interviewing Mr. Duhau isn’t just relevant to the justification of their ban but also relevant to their desire to pursue damages against Varga. Part of their claims revolve around their assertion that Varga had undertaken fraud against them.
“As part of Twitch’s fraud claim, Twitch alleges Varga misrepresented and misleadingly omitted material information about his use of and ownership interest in CSGOShuffle. Twitch also alleges that Varga failed to disclose the fact that through his ownership interest in CSGOShuffle, he was rigging jackpots and otherwise manipulating gambling results and using his ill-gotten skins to further promote CSGOShuffle on Twitch. Id. The evidence sought seeks to demonstrate this ownership interest and manipulation.
Varga also asserts in his complaint that Twitch “arbitrarily” suspended him. Twitch denies this and intends to demonstrate that its decision to suspend Varga was not arbitrary. The specifics behind Varga’s financial interest in CSGOShuffle and his manipulation of gambling on the site are highly relevant to providing this justification.”
It isn’t a guarantee the court will issue the request and doing so might be moot if the case is dismissed, however, a date has been set for a decision to be made on this matter as the 28th August.
Should Duhau be questioned by Twitch the public will likely learn details about the operations of CSGO shuffle that were never known before. As always, Dexerto will keep you up to date with this case as it develops.