HE is the game-maker accused of turning poacher.

Leslie Benzies produced the global hit Grand Theft Auto for Edinburgh-based giant Rockstar North.

But now, after an acrimonious split with his old employers, the Scot is facing claims he has been luring former colleagues to his new firm.

In an ongoing litigation Mr Benzies, 47, has been seeking $150m he says he is owed by Rockstar North, in an ongoing litigation.

His Grand Theft Auto or GTA is one of the best selling video games of all time and is thought to have grossed more than £6 billion, more than the most successful film franchises of all time, such as Star Wars.

Rockstar’s parent Take Two Interactive Software Inc, has issued a pre-emptive legal counter-claim, warning to Mr Benzies’ new game development company.

It accused Mr Benzies, who set up his own studio at the old Leith Corn Exchange in 2017, of wilfully infringing its intellectual property and soliciting its staff.

Mr Benzies hired former colleagues for the studio, initially named Royal Circus Games, which has since been renamed Build a Rocket Boy Games.

His company is currently producing its first game, Everywhere, described as an experience which will “blur the lines between reality and a simulated world”.

It is developing the new product from offices in Edinburgh, Budapest and Los Angeles.

But lawyers from Take Two, based in New York, have taken issue with the start-up.

In the letter filed with New York Supreme Court, Dale Cendali, an intellectual property lawyer at legal outfit, Kirkland & Ellis, accused Royal Circus Games of having “attempted to solicit Rockstar Games’ (RSG) employees”.

He stated: “It appears that Royal Circus Games may have targeted these employees based on knowledge of confidential personnel and business practices only available to it because of the former RSG employees’ prior employment at RSG.”

Mr Cendali suggested Mr Benzies and his colleagues had tried to deliberately hoodwink consumers into believing their new firm was affiliated with the video game giant.

The letter was addressed to Christian Poziemski, who until August was a director of Royal Circus Games.

Mr Cendali added: “The choice of the Royal Circus Games trademark - which shortens to RCG and will presumably use an R design logo - is clearly intended to cause confusion with the RSG trademarks and mislead consumers into believing that there is an affiliation, connection or association between RCG and RSG.”

But a lawyer on behalf of Mr Benzies, Christopher Bakes of the law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, dismissed the allegations.

Mr Bakes wrote a response saying: “Do you have a particular basis on which to make this extreme charge? Do you presume that all new tech and entertainment hires are just ruses to get confidential information belonging to others?

“Please let me also remind you that your clients’ companies are not feudal estates where worker movements can be controlled and harassed.

“Each employee was free to seek other employment and they did so.”

Mr Benzies, who is described as a US resident in filings for his new company, was born in Aberdeen. He began assembling the GTA team nearly 20 years ago.