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Sports ministry to seek police probe into money transfer between umpire, baseball club CEO

All News 13:39 July 04, 2017

SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's sports ministry is set to request a police probe into a money scandal involving an umpire and a baseball club CEO after it found out the pro baseball governing body's poor handling of the case, an official here said Tuesday.

An official at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism told Yonhap News Agency that it is very likely that the ministry will call for a police investigation into a suspicious money transaction between Doosan Bears President Kim Seung-young and an umpire surnamed Choi ahead of the 2013 postseason in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) League.

The Bears announced on Monday that Kim resigned from his post because of the scandal that has been rocking the local baseball community. Kim earlier admitted that he personally gave 3 million won (US$2,610) to help out Choi's financial trouble in October 2013, but it has nothing to do with match-fixing.

The Bears, five-time KBO champions, finished runners-up in 2013. Choi, meanwhile, retired from his job in 2014.

The scandal has also put the KBO under fire after the pro baseball operator apparently tried to conceal such wrongdoings of Kim and Choi from the public. It turned out the KBO's disciplinary committee held a meeting in March to discuss the money transfer case, but such information was never revealed until local media reported on the scandal recently.

The official said the sports ministry asked the KBO to submit all documents related with the case.

"We still can't understand why the KBO didn't disclose information on the case even after its disciplinary committee meeting and why it didn't track down the umpire's bank account even though it had secured such information," the official at the ministry said under condition of anonymity. "We will review the KBO's documents and will request a police probe if there's something that we can't understand."

Local media have reported that Choi also asked officials from another KBO club, the Nexen Heroes, for money in the past. The Heroes, however, denied that they handed money to the crooked umpire.


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