Base­ball club ad­mits to pay­ing um­pire

The Korea Times - - SPORTS - (Yon­hap)

A South Korean base­ball club on Wed­nes­day ad­mit­ted to pay­ing an um­pire only a day be­fore win­ning a league ti­tle four years ago.

The Sam­sung Li­ons in the Korea Base­ball Or­ga­ni­za­tion (KBO) said a se­nior club em­ployee wired 4 mil­lion won ($3,560) to the then um­pire, sur­named Choi, in Oc­to­ber 2013, af­ter Choi had con­tacted the em­ployee for some quick cash. The em­ployee has since left the Li­ons, and Choi re­tired in 2014.

Fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions of any kind be­tween um­pires and club em­ploy­ees are strictly pro­hib­ited.

The Li­ons apol­o­gized for the in­ci­dent and said they weren’t aware of the em­ployee’s mis­deed last year, when the KBO con­ducted its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter fol­low­ing me­dia re­ports al­leg­ing Choi’s il­licit trans­ac­tions with KBO teams.

Ear­lier Wed­nes­day, pros­e­cu­tors said they had ob­tained cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence of the Li­ons’ con­nec­tion with Choi. The Li­ons said they only found out about the money chang­ing hands af­ter the ex-em­ployee was ques­tioned by pros­e­cu­tors. The for­mer Sam­sung of­fi­cial told pros­e­cu­tors that he’d known Choi for a while and he lent him 4 mil­lion won as a friend.

The Li­ons are fourth among 10 KBO clubs to be em­broiled in the snow­balling scan­dal sur­round­ing Choi, who al­legedly called or texted of­fi­cials from mul­ti­ple clubs for cash.

Also Wed­nes­day, pros­e­cu­tors said they re­cently sum­moned Nexen He­roes owner Lee Chang-suk for a pos­si­ble con­nec­tion to Choi. Ear­lier, the Doosan Bears and the Kia Tigers also ad­mit­ted to giv­ing money to Choi.

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