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GTA producer sued over ‘stealing staff’

A VIDEO game pioneer who worked on the Grand Theft Auto series has been taken to court for allegedly poaching former colleagues to start a rival business.

Leslie Benzies, former president of games developer Rockstar North, is accused of wilfully infringing its intellectual property and soliciting its staff.

The 47-year-old (pictured) took the lead on the best-selling GTA series but left the Edinburgh-based developer in 2016.

Its parent company, Take Two Interactive Software Inc, issued a pre-emptive legal warning to Mr Benzies’ new game development studio which he set up in Edinburgh in 2017. Mr Benzies hired former colleagues for Royal Circus Games, since renamed Build A Rocket Boy Games.

But lawyers for Take Two, in a letter filed with New York Supreme Court, accused Royal Circus of ‘targeting’ the staff based on their ‘knowledge of confidential personnel and business practices’.

They claimed Mr Benzies and his colleagues had tried to ‘hoodwink consumers into believing their new firm was affiliated with the video game giant’.

Mr Benzies’ lawyers have rejected the allegations. He is also involved in an ongoing court case with Take Two over claims he is owed more than £115million in unpaid royalties.