Sports ministry requests prosecution probe into baseball league's alleged bid rigging

By Alex Park

Published : Jul 17, 2017 - 11:49
Updated : Jul 17, 2017 - 11:49

The sports ministry said Monday it has requested a prosecution probe into suspected bid rigging by the national professional baseball league.

The ministry said its own preliminary investigation revealed a series of wrongdoings by the Korea Baseball Organization when it solicited bids for a company to handle its business in China.

The KBO sought to break into the Chinese market in 2016, and a senior official in charge of the tender, surnamed Kang, rigged the process so that a company run by his family members could win the bid, according to the ministry.

The ministry said Kang doctored financial statements of the company and paid the firm before it honored the terms of the contract.

This undated file photo, provided by the Korea Baseball Organization, shows the KBO's headquarters in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The ministry added that the KBO became aware of Kang's malpractice in January this year but didn't launch its own internal probe until March. Even during the investigation, Kang remained in his role as the official in charge of the Chinese operations.

The apparent bid rigging was detailed in a news article earlier this month, and the ministry said the KBO failed to take proper steps in the aftermath and reported the matter to the ministry or police.

The ministry said it will consider reducing government grants to the KBO, depending on the final court decision on the matter.

Earlier this month, the ministry requested a separate prosecution probe into another KBO scandal involving a retired umpire, who allegedly asked multiple KBO club officials for cash. One official, former Doosan Bears President Kim Seung-young, admitted to giving the umpire, surnamed Choi, 3 million won ($2,660) prior to a postseason game in 2013. Kim resigned from his post in the aftermath, though he insisted the transaction was only a personal one between friends and there was no connection with match fixing. (Yonhap)

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