Disco Elysium devs allege ZA/UM bought studio majority fraudulently

Disco Elysium devs allege ZA/UM bought studio majority fraudulently

Some of Disco Elysium's key members of development staff have filed a lawsuit accusing ZA/UM execs of fraud.

As reported by the Estonian Ekspress – spotted by PC Gamer – game director Robert Kurvitz and art director Aleksander Rostov, as well as the title's executive producer Kaur Kender, claim that ZA/UM CEO Ilmar Kompus and former executive producer Tõnis Haavel purchased a majority stake in the studio using its own money.

The developers claim that four concept sketches for a sequel to Disco Elysium were apparently bought by Tütreke, a shell company that is controlled by Kompus, for €1 ($1.05). They were then sold back to ZA/UM for €4.8 million ($5 million). This money was set to fund the sequel.

This is also the money that Kurvitz and co. reckon that Kompus and Haavel used to buy out the stake of investor Margue Linnamäe back in 2021.

The accusation that ZA/UM execs fraudulently bought the remaining shares in the studio is not new; Kurvitz and Rostov made them in a Medium post earlier this year, though this is the first time that the specifics of the case have been detailed.

Kender has filed a lawsuit against Kompus, claiming that the CEO "cheated" him out of around €1 million ($1.05 million). As a result of this claim, Kompus' stake in the studio has been frozen until the case is resolved.

Earlier in November, ZA/UM said that the accusations levelled against it were "baseless claims and falsehoods".

Kurvitz and Rostov were among staff forced out of ZA/UM in 2021, while Kender left the studio earlier this year.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.