Nexen Heroes will have to fork over illegal cash

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Nexen Heroes will have to fork over illegal cash

The KBO’s Nexen Heroes will be forced to hand over illegal cash they received in two separate trades last year, the league office announced Tuesday.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said the Heroes will have to fork over 600 million won ($557,780) that the club took from the NC Dinos and the KT Wiz in trades in March and July 2017, respectively. The money will go toward the KBO’s Baseball Development Fund.

The Heroes admitted on Monday to taking illegal money in these player transactions, confirming long-held suspicions that the cash-strapped team had been dumping players for cash.

While trading players for cash considerations isn’t banned by the KBO, the three clubs involved never reported the money changing hands to the league office when they submitted the deals for approval.

A news report on Monday published the Heroes’ internal documents detailing the illicit transactions. The documents showed that in March 2017, the Heroes received 100 million won from the Dinos when they sent left-hander Kang Yoon-goo in exchange for right-hander Kim Han-byeol. Then in July that same year, the Heroes sent infielder Yoon Suk-min to the Wiz for pitchers Chung Dae-hyun and Seo Eui-tae and 500 million won in cash.

“These three clubs clearly violated league rules guiding transactions,” the KBO said in a statement. “We also believe these deals inflicted grave damage on transparency and credibility of our league.”

The KBO added that it will form a special investigation committee, made up of legal, financial and accounting experts, to take a closer look at the disputed trades and open disciplinary proceedings against officials from the three clubs as necessary.

The league said it decided not to nullify the trades, because the players weren’t directly involved in the illegal cash transaction and they didn’t take any profits.

The KBO has asked the Heroes and the rest of the league to report any wrongdoing in previous trades.

This incident is the latest black eye for the Heroes. Lee Chang-suk, their owner, was convicted of embezzlement in February this year. Their main sponsor, Nexen Tire, withheld its monthly payments in March and April following Lee’s conviction while waiting on the Heroes’ front office to sort out its management issues.

Then last week, sexual assault allegations emerged against starting catcher Park Dong-won and closer Cho Sang-woo. They were questioned by police on Monday.

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