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Thursday, May 23, 2019

MLB teams’ involvement with Cuban players under Justice Department scrutiny - The Washington Post

A Justice Department investigation into Major League Baseball’s operations in Latin America and the trafficking of Cuban players has expanded in recent months, with former league and team officials among those contacted by FBI agents and called to testify before a grand jury, according to people with knowledge of the probe. The wide-ranging inquiry is, in part, seeking to root out suspected involvement of MLB team officials with smugglers who force Cuban players to sign away exorbitant portions of their earnings in exchange for passage off the island.

While MLB officials have blamed the plight of Cuban players on the U.S. embargo on the island nation, some scouts, agents and former federal prosecutors argue that major league rules — which make it more lucrative for Cuban players to defect to other countries first rather than come straight to the United States — fuel corruption across Latin America, and that MLB has long ignored its role in this black market.

“It’s always been clear that these guys are basically hostages, until the time that they sign major league contracts and give a sizeable portion of their contracts to the criminals involved in smuggling them out,” said Joe Kehoskie, a former player agent. “Everyone stuck their heads in the sand.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 23, 2019 at 11:11 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cuban players

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