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Report: Suspect in Ubisoft Montreal swatting a notorious Rainbow Six cheater

Threatened campaign of terror unless he was given access to ban other players, according to indictment

Tactical units of the Montréal Police outside Ubisoft Montréal’s offices in the city’s Mile End neighborhood on Nov. 13, following a false threat that 40 persons were held hostage inside.
Photo by ANDREJ IVANOV/AFP via Getty Images
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

A French citizen accused of phoning a false emergency at Ubisoft Montreal’s offices, sending police to the studio and evacuating its building in November, is an admitted Rainbow Six Siege cheater who phoned another false “swatting” call in 2017 over the same game.

La Presse, of Montreal, citing documents filed by Montreal police and a French court, said Yanni Ouahioune has been banned from Siege, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, more than 80 times, and has waged a four-year campaign of harassment against the studio and other Siege players. Ouahioune, according to a criminal indictment in France, was also responsible for swatting the studio two more times in the next two months.

Ouahioune, in a Snapchat conversation with La Presse, denied responsibility for the Nov. 13 incident, but admitted to the 2017 swatting attempt against another Siege player. La Presse said Ouahioune, the day after the Jan. 6 swatting call was resolved without a police intervention, impersonated Ubisoft Montreal staff in a call to Ubisoft and attempted to get access to his banned account.

Unable to do so, he threatened to “terrorize you to death,” says the indictment, unless he was given “all the keys to R6 and […] access to commands to ban people.” Ouahioune is alleged to have grudge against a Rainbow Six Siege streamer from Sweden who has thousands of Twitch and YouTube subscribers. Ouahioune is accused of hacking into this streamer’s account in the weeks before the Nov. 13 hoax. He admitted to bragging that he had hacked the player, but now says someone else did it.

In their Snapchat conversation, Ouahioune asked La Presse to pass along a request: “Can you say that I am kindly asking the Ubisoft team to ‘unban’ my account please,” Ouahioune said. “I have put over $1,500 in cosmetic enhancements in my profile.”

Ouahioune denied any responsibility for the most recent incidents: “I don’t even have a PC anymore. I just have an old phone and have stopped all of my bad activities,” he told La Presse. “I no longer want my mother to be disappointed.”

The Nov. 13 swatting call emptied Ubisoft Montreal’s building of more than 400 people. News accounts at the time said the caller claimed to be holding 40 persons hostage, and threatened to blow up the building if they were not paid a ransom of more than $2 million.

Court documents say Ouahioune spoofed the call to Montreal cops, making it appear as if the call was coming from inside the offices. Questioned about these allegations, Ouahioune gave a coy denial.

“Normally, just for the buzz, I would have said that it was I who sent the police to Ubisoft, but hey, now the buzz is zero,” Ouahioune told La Presse.

The Dec. 18 and Jan. 6 swatting attempts were foiled when police took “more discreet checks before launching a large-scale operation,” like they did on Nov. 13. In the Montreal court documents, Ubisoft says it cost the company CA$1.7 million in lost productivity, and another CA$55,000 in damage and psychological support costs related to the incident.

Despite the indictment in France, La Presse noted that the chances Ouahioune is prosecuted in Canada is very low, considering the French government’s standing policy of not extraditing French citizens for any reason.