South Korea's sports ministry decided to request a prosecution probe into the country's pro baseball league operator for suspected negligence of duty in handling a recent money scandal case, officials here said Thursday.
An official at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said the ministry will file a complaint against the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and will conduct a financial audit of the pro baseball body.
The KBO has been in hot water after local media reported that it tried to conceal a suspicious money transaction between Doosan Bears President Kim Seung-young and an umpire surnamed Choi in 2013 from the public.
Kim resigned from his post on Monday. The Bears CEO earlier admitted that he gave 3 million won (US$2,600) from his personal bank account to help Choi with some financial trouble in October 2013, just before the start of the postseason, but it has nothing to do with match-fixing.
The Bears, five-time KBO champions, finished runners-up in 2013. Choi, meanwhile, retired from his job in 2014.
According to the ministry, the KBO found out about Kim and Choi in August 2016, but started its investigation six months later. The ministry added that the KBO didn't request local authorities to track down Choi's bank account even though it had secured such information, and wrapped up its investigation after only questioning club officials.
The KBO held a disciplinary committee meeting in March and gave a "warning" to Kim, then closed the case. The case was never disclosed until local media reported on the scandal in recent months.
"The money scandal between club officials and the umpire started from the KBO's negligence," said Lim Young-ah, sports industry director at the ministry. "We will soon request a prosecutor probe and conduct an audit to fix the problem." (Yonhap)