Prosecution denies KBO’s involvement in scandal
Prosecutors denied reports that the investigation into volleyball’s match-fixing scandal has now spread to the Korean Baseball Organization and other professional leagues.
The Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office acknowledged yesterday that testimonies were given by brokers that singled out two active Seoul LG Twins pitchers who allegedly participated in gambling schemes. However, prosecutors said the evidence is not strong enough to launch an investigation into Korea’s most popular sport.
“We have only heard allegations about the scheme in baseball,” a spokesman of the Prosecutors’ Office told the JoongAng Ilbo.
“But we don’t have any evidence that can prove these testimonies are true, so we’re not running any investigations into baseball for now.”
Three players from the Korea Professional Volleyball League (V-League) - two retired and one active - and a gambling broker surnamed Kang, 29, were arrested on Feb. 8 on suspicion of rigging volleyball games.
The prosecution then summoned another broker, surnamed Kim, for questioning who had been sentenced to four years in prison for his involvement in last year’s K-League football scandal.
Kim said that he had heard professional pitchers were giving up bases on balls in the first inning of KBO games while other deliberate actions were occurring in the Korean Basketball League regarding 3-pointers and free throws.
According to the Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office, Kang of the V-League scandal has not mentioned any specific baseball players.
Local newspapers in Daegu had reported over the last two days, based on an initial story by Yonhap News Agency, that active baseball players were being pursued by the prosecution, including the Seoul LG Twins’ ace pitcher, surnamed Park, and another Twins pitcher surnamed Kim.
But the LG Twins came out strong against the allegations, fully defending its players.
“I can’t understand how this groundless rumor came out,” Baek Soon-gil, the Twins’ general manager, told Ilgan Sports, The JoongAng Ilbo’s daily sports newspaper. “There’s no such involvement from our players, as far as we know.”
The Twins said that Baek went to Okinawa, Japan, yesterday for the team’s spring training to discuss the situation with players.
Meanwhile, the KBO said yesterday that it has requested the prosecution to instead investigate an informant who disclosed what they say was false information to the Korean media regarding the match-fixing schemes in the league.
The KBO said the informant, who identified himself as a former baseball player, insisted that giving up bases on balls is just the tip of the iceberg, suggesting that corruption runs deep in the sport.
However, the KBO said that the information is not reliable because the source’s identification turned out to be false.
“We spoke with the retired player on Tuesday and confirmed that he’s not the guy who disclosed the information to the media,” a spokesman of the KBO told Ilgan Sports.
By Kwon Sang-soo [firstname.lastname@example.org]