Back To Top

Baseball club owner placed under travel ban in fraud investigation

A Korean baseball club owner has been placed under a travel ban in an ongoing fraud investigation.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said Wednesday that Lee Jang-seok, who owns the Korea Baseball Organization club Nexen Heroes, was barred from leaving the country on June 20.

Lee is facing fraud charges, after another business executive claimed that he didn't get his stake of the ball club that Lee had promised him.

Hong Sung-eun, chairman of the Atlanta-based real estate developer Rainier Group, alleged that after investing 2 billion won ($1.7 million) in the Heroes, he never got his 40-percent share of the ball club.

In December 2012, the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board ordered the Heroes to give Hong his 40-percent stake, rejecting the team's appeal to deny the businessman a share.

The Heroes filed a suit at the Seoul Central District Court to nullify the board's ruling, but lost. They appealed the court decision but withdrew a week before the verdict was due.

Prosecutors are also looking into Lee for charges of embezzlement and professional negligence, as alleged by Hong. They have already interrogated former Nexen officials and are expected to soon summon Lee for questioning.

The Heroes joined the KBO before the 2008 season, replacing the cash-strapped Hyundai Unicorns. The Heroes too have experienced financial trouble during their tenure. (Yonhap)