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Peter Zhang permanently barred from all LoL esports events

Riot Games - Riot Games Headquarters, tags: peter zhang - CC BY-SA

Riot announced that former Team SoloMid coach Zhang “Peter Zhang” Yi had been banned from “any association or affiliation with a team or organization in a Riot-sanctioned competition” due to his unethical behavior towards former and current players and staff of the team.

He was accused of diverting money from players’ salaries using his position as the coach of TSM. TSM then conducted an internal investigation, confirming the accusations, before terminating his contract for his behavior.

Zhang and the League of Legends Championship Series confirmed TSM’s investigation and issued a Competitive Ruling on the subject. Riot said in their competitive ruling:

“Peter Zhang violated the LCS Rule Set as well as the LCS Eligibility and Release Agreement by diverting portions of player salaries to accounts belonging to Peter Zhang and his associates, by misleading and failing to fully compensate a former TSM player for the sale of the player’s car, and by soliciting loans from TSM players and staff.”

Peter Zhang became TSM’s Academy Head Coach in November 2018 and eventually became the Head of Player Development in December 2021. However, on March 18, 2022, TSM terminated Peter Zhang due to “allegations of conflict of interest and unethical practices” from TSM staff and players. TSM and a third-party law firm worked with Riot’s investigators by providing a comprehensive list of Peter Zhang’s actions while he was employed by TSM.

Peter Zhang’s actions

Zhang diverted around $250,000 in player salaries from two different TSM players between December 2021 and February 2022. The two players were supposed to receive a large portion of their salaries from a third party that Riot labeled “The Entity”. Peter Zhang gave the Entity accounts to deposit the player’s salaries into, but most of the accounts he gave were associated with him instead of the players.

There is also evidence that Zhang shared non-public information about TSM’s scouting and recruiting decisions during his time at TSM.

In October 2021, Zhang agreed to sell a TSM player’s car and give the player the full proceeds. Evidence suggests that Zhang misled the player and said he was unable to sell the vehicle multiple times. Zhang then purchased the car from the player for $80,000 but only paid $35,000. The remaining $45,000 has yet to be paid to the player.

Finally, between January 18, 2022, and March 18, 2022, Zhang solicited eight TSM players and staff to lend him a total of $15,000. It was on March 18 that TSM became aware of Zhang’s solicitation and instantly took action to reverse pending wire transfers which stopped him from receiving an additional $20,000. Around $4,500 remains unpaid from the players and staff that loaned Zhang money.

Evidence of these actions was gathered from interviews with over ten witnesses, bank transfer records, and communication records between TSM members and Zhang. Riot investigators asked Zhang for his side of the story, but he failed to provide evidence compelling enough to refute the report created by the third-party firm. As a result, Riot ruled that Zhang had violated Rule 14.2.10 of the LCS Rule Set and Section 2 of the LCS Eligibility and Release Form, which resulted in his permanent ban from the competitive League of Legends scene.