MLB, Fed Investigation Hits Nationals
Photo: Haraz Ghanbari/AP
Photo: Haraz Ghanbari/AP
Posted Jul 12, 2008

An investigation by officials from the FBI and Major League Baseball is ongoing and has hit the Washington Nationals. GM Jim Bowden confirmed that he and other members of the organization have been questioned.

Saying that he knows nothing about being the focus of an investigation by the FBI and Major League Baseball, Nationals GM Jim Bowden has confirmed that he and other members of the organization have met with investigators. Bowden was quick to point out that at no time has he been told that he is the focus of the investigation.

The investigation involves illegal signing practices of foreign players and specifically, whether team officials have "skimmed" money from foreign players who are signed to contracts with MBL teams. Bowden appears to be the highest ranking baseball official to be involved in the case and the team has confirmed that special assistant Jose Rijo has been asked to speak with FBI officials and will do so when he returns from the Dominican Republic. Bowden stressed that he expects that he and all other team officials will be cleared in the probe, which could result in fraud charges being filed against any officials found to be involved in the case.

Earlier this year, members of the Chicago White Sox organization were found to have skimmed money from contract bonuses that were slated to go to Dominican prospects. The White Sox fired Player Personnel Director David Wilder and two others after finding that they were involved in the scheme. Bowden, Rijo and the Nationals are all maintaining their innocence and insist that there has been no wrong doing on the part of any Nationals officials. Bowden pointed out that his understanding is that all 30 Major League teams are involved in the investigation. Major League Baseball is not only cooperating with federal authorities, but have launched their own investigation into the alleged illegal activities.

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