South Korean prosecutors have charged Lee Tae Yang, a pitcher for NC Dinos in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), with manipulating games for gambling purposes. He is facing a lifetime ban from the KBO, which would also prevent him from playing professionally in the US, Japan or Taiwan.
It has been alleged that Yang deliberately allowed first-innings walks and runs in return for 20 million Won (£13,300) from a gambling broker. According to prosecutors, Yang colluded with the broker over four matches between May and September 2015, but only successfully delivered in two of those matches.
The broker in question has now been arrested, while the Changwon-based Dinos are taking steps to terminate Yang’s contract. In the last three weeks before the charge was announced, he had been left off the team’s roster for what was suspiciously described as an elbow injury.
Meanwhile, Moon Woo-ram, an outfielder for South Korea’s military baseball team in the KBO’s second-tier competition, has also been linked to the case. Woo-ram is suspected of receiving 10 million Won (£6,650) in cash and gifts from the same broker connected to Yang.
The news represents another huge blow to the reputation of the KBO, after two LG Twins players were permanently banned for taking bribes from gambling brokers in 2012, in exchange for deliberately walking batters.