Earlier this week, RuneScape studio Jagex announced it had been sold to a new investment company, The Carlyle Group. But then we learned another company, Plutos Sama Holdings, had contested that sale, having filed a multi-defendant lawsuit that claimed it had purchased Jagex at auction in China in 2019 and that Jagex’s previous sale to US Platinum Fortune (the one before The Carlyle Group) was a RICO-related money-laundering scheme.
Well, now Jagex has disputed those accusations. “We can confirm Carlyle has acquired Jagex regardless of any claims made by third parties in relation to the deal,” Jagex CEO Phil Mansell told GamesIndustry.biz. A separate “spokesperson” for the UK studio further said, “The allegations are meritless in all respects, and we will deal with the situation accordingly.”
According to GIbiz’s recap of the mess, Plutos Sama was part of a “partnership” with Platinum Fortune that won the auction for Jagex from Shanghai Hongtu several years ago when the mining company (oh, did I not mention that part?) ran into financial troubles. But Plutos Sama claims it then discovered Shanghai Hongtu was involved in a money laundering scheme, so it sold its part of US Platinum to Macarthur Fortune. That actually comports with the confusion back in 2019, when Jagex initially denied but then later confirmed the sale and the buyer names changed in the interim. It also jibes with the stop order Macarthur Holdings acquired last year in regard to Platinum selling its shares. Shanghai Hongtu apparently disputed the idea that Platinum had “validly” purchased the shares to begin with, but Plutos Sama says this is because Shanghai Hongtu accepted a bribe to block the sale. The suit asks the courts to settle that root issue before allowing the current sale to continue.
We should point out here that no one has actually accused Jagex itself of wrong-doing; at least superficially right now, it seems as if it’s merely the asset whose ownership is disputed.