Estonian crime. A fraudulent scheme became known, as a result of which the authors of Disco Elysium were kicked out into the street

ZA/UM was bought by scammers with the money of the studio itself. Tells about how it was.

Source — Estonia Ekspress. Last week, the newspaper reviewed in detail the claim of Kaur Kender, executive producer of Disco Elysium, to ZA/UM. The document forces us to take a fresh look at the situation.

It was like this.

In 2021, Margus Linnamae, who at that time was the largest shareholder of ZA/UM (and, in fact, with whose money Disco Elysium was developed), decided to sell his share in the studio.

Initially, it was assumed that his share would be distributed among other shareholders. But already at this stage something went wrong. Linnamae decided to sell his entire share to Ilmar Kompus, who was one of the minority shareholders.

Perhaps it all rested on how much Linnamaeus estimated his share. He wanted to leave the company, having received €4.5 million in compensation. And, presumably, only Compus was ready to offer such a sum.

But there was a nuance. Compus did not have such funds. However, he fulfilled his obligations to Linnamae (the former majority owner received his money).

How did he do it?

That’s where the fun begins.

The company owned by Ilmar Kompus, Tütreke, acquires a draft script and four sketches from ZA/UM for one pound sterling, which depict a man in a space suit. Both the script and the art work on the game, which is codenamed Pioneer One (the sequel to Disco Elysium).

Then Tütreke sells the same sketches back to ZA/UM, but for €4.8 million. With the money received from the studio, Compus pays Linnamae the desired €4.5 million. At the same time, he becomes the majority owner of ZA/UM.

In other words, Kompus took money from the studio for its own purchase.

Key employees of the company knew nothing about the deal. At that moment, both Robert Kurvitz, the creator of the world of Disco Elysium (plus its lead designer and screenwriter), and Alexander Rostov, the art director of Disco Elysium, were focused on developing a new game (however, it is possible that success turned the guys’ heads, so they could well do other things cases).

They faced a new reality five months after the transfer of the stake into the hands of Kompus, when he demoted them to ordinary employees of the company. It came as a shock to both of them. They demanded answers, documents, and began to defend their rights. As a result, both were fired from the studio, at the origins of which they stood.

According to Estonia Express, the Computer had a goal and, as they say, it was going to it. The new owner of the studio wanted to sell ZA/UM as soon as possible to some big publisher at the level of Microsoft or Tencent.

It is possible that he was counting on a deal of several tens of millions of dollars. This is not to mention the sale of the rights to the film adaptation: Amazon was considering the possibility of creating a series based on Disco Elysium.

However, there was a flaw in the ambitious plan of the Compass. Despite Kurwitz’s dismissal, he still has the right to veto any deal related to the Disco Elysium franchise.

A paradoxical situation has developed. The new owner cannot sell the studio (no one needs it without the right to dispose of his only IP), and the exiled founder of the studio cannot continue working on a sequel to his own game (but he is excellent at putting sticks in the wheels of the new management).

And then it’s time to ask questions in the spirit: and what does Kaur Kender have to do with it, from whose claim to ZA/UM we learned about exactly how the scam was carried out? And by the way, how does he know the details? And what exactly is he dissatisfied with?

The Kender also stood at the studio’s claims, it was he who advised Kurvitz not to write a new novel, but to make a game. And the Kender is one of the few beneficiaries of the deal. According to the results of the 2021 fiscal year, which ended for ZA/UM this spring, he was paid € 500 thousand.

By the way, Kurvitz and Rostov accuse Kender of helping Tütreke take control of the studio.

Anyway, as soon as the Kender started asking uncomfortable questions to the new management, he was first sent on vacation, and then also fired.

Now the Kender accuses Kompus of having cheated him out of €913 thousand euros. The first meetings have already been held in this case, as a result of which, on October 28, the controlling stake of Tütreke in ZA/UM was seized.

Also, according to the Kender, the former banker Tynis Haavel is behind the machinations of the Compass. They say that he pulls the strings and is the gray cardinal who came up with the described scheme.

Indirectly, this is indicated only by the fact that the rights to Disco Elysium are handled by the ZA/UM division, which is called Yessirnosir. It is run by Anu Reiman, Haaval’s old partner.

The former banker does not want to shine once again. He is bankrupt and at the same time has to pay €11.2 million to businessmen who became victims of his other fraudulent scheme. In this case, Haaval was convicted and served seven months in prison.

Whether the new trial will be able to send him to jail together with the Computer — we are unlikely to find out before next year.

By the way, last week it also became known about a separate lawsuit by Robert Kurwitz. The hearing on it will be held on November 28.

Earlier, in a public letter, Kurvitz and Rostov announced plans to sue ZA/UM not only in Estonian, but also in British jurisdiction. The authors of Disco Elysium believe that the actions of Kompus and Haaval are a crime, for which both can face up to three years in prison.

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