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NC Dinos have been cleared of fraud charges

Korean baseball club NC Dinos were cleared of fraud charges on Tuesday following a controversial transaction.

District prosecutors in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi Province, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Seoul, dropped the charges against the Dinos’ former general manager and head of baseball operations.

Gyeonggi police earlier accused the two officials of trading away a pitcher under match-fixing suspicions in exchange for cash. The pitcher in question, Lee Sung-min, was left unprotected in the expansion draft after the 2014 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season, and when the KT Wiz selected the pitcher, the Dinos received 1 billion won (US$878,000) in compensation. Police believed the Dinos had engaged in fraudulent trading.

Prosecutors disagreed with police, saying the transaction was different from a conventional “player-for-cash” trade, and that the Dinos weren’t under any obligation to let the Wiz know of Lee’s potential ties to match fixing.

Uijeongbu prosecutors also said the Dinos couldn’t be certain of Lee’s match-fixing history at the time of the expansion draft, because of the player’s vehement denials.

“The Dinos may face moral criticism for not informing KT of Lee Sung-min’s background, but they can’t be legally punished because of that special draft,” an official at the district prosecution office said.

The Dinos said they were “relieved” to have been found innocent, and apologized to their fans for the scandal.

“We’ll do our best this season to return fans’ love and support,” an NC official said.



PyeongChang test event performs well at ticket office

Ticket sales for the PyeongChang Olympic figure skating test event have been successful, the organizers said on Tuesday.

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (Pocog) said tickets for 31,900 seats were sold online for the International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships as of Monday. It is the largest sale for a figure skating event held in Korea, according to the Pocog.

In 2015, only 6,500 seats were sold when the championships were staged in Seoul.

This year’s ISU Four Continents will be contested from Thursday to Sunday at Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangwon, a sub-host city for the Winter Games. The competition will have 112 skaters from 14 countries - excluding those from Europe - who will perform in the men’s and women’s singles, pair skating and ice dancing. It is also the first international figure skating event to be staged at Gangneung Ice Arena, the venue for figure skating and short track speed skating at the PyeongChang Games.

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