Fortnite Russian pro denied $200,000 after winning FNCS Major, accuses Epic Games of discrimination
Fortnite Russian pro-players Daniil "Рutrick" Abdrakhmanov and Egor "Swizzy" Luciko seemingly have been stubbed by Epic Games. Despite winning the Fortnite Champion Series Major 3 in Chapter 4 Season 3, Epic Games has refused to grant them their $200,000 cash prize. To add insult to injury, Рutrick has been disqualified from the FNCS Copenhagen Lan event as well.
According to the Russian pro-player, even after emailing Epic Games about the situation, the replies have been less than satisfactory. Support responds once a day and allegedly does not investigate the matter intricately, which has led to identical replies being sent out. Рutrick has also stated that he did not break any of the rules set forth by Epic Games.
"We are not even playing from a prohibited country" - Fortnite pro-player Daniil "Рutrick" Abdrakhmanov tells Epic Games' support team
As seen in the emails exchanged between Рutrick and the Fortnite support team, the main issue at hand is that he hails from a "Prize Restricted Region." Epic Games had labeled Russia as such following the invasion of Ukraine, which occurred on February 24, 2022. The same is also mentioned in sections 2.6.2 and 2.6.3 of the FNCS Major 3 Official Rules.
However, according to Рutrick, he and his teammate, Swizzy, played from Belarus. While Epic Games has stopped all commerce with Russia, Belarus is not on the list. Hence, it can be argued that the Duo did not play from a "Prize Restricted Region." Putrick mentions this in the support mail and writes:
"I understand that we cannot play from a prohibited country, but me and Swizzy played from a country that is allowed to play and receive prizes from tournaments. We live and play from Belarus."
Рutrick also stated that he got 'scammed' and even provided an example of another Fortnite pro-player (GXR Malibuca) who is a resident of the Russian Federation but is living in Serbia. However, as it turns out, from a legal standpoint, things are very different. Danila "Malibuca" Yakovenko took to Twitter to clear the matter.
While these legalities will impact the ability to claim prize money, it seems that Epic Games failed to provide Рutrick with a heads-up. As seen from the leaderboard in the Duos Cash Cup: Chapter 3 Season 3, Putrick and his teammate, Safik, did, in fact, walk away with $1,000 in winnings.
Despite the sanctions placed on Russia by Epic Games at the time, Fortnite Cash Cups were still feasible. It would seem that Putrick probably thought things would not change moving forward. Nevertheless, given that Epic Games monitors tournaments closely, the community at large agrees that Putrick and Swizzy should not have been allowed to participate in the first place.
If there's no cash prize to be had after winning, the entire point is rather moot. Jake Lucky even spoke to Putrick, who confirmed that his bank account was based in Kazakhstan, which is not a country listed as a "Prize Restricted Region." This in itself should have been enough to grant the $200,000 in winnings, but this too seems to have fallen short.
Given the way things are, it's unclear if Epic Games will release the prize money that Рutrick and Swizzy rightfully won. With the sanctions still in place, it's unlikely that the decision will change anytime soon. The only feasible course of action would be to hold the earnings until things are back to normal. That said, at the end of the day, the decision entirely rests upon Epic Games.