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Seibu’s acting owner demoted

Kyodo News

The Seibu Lions said on Monday that acting owner-cum-club president Hidekazu Ota will be demoted to vice president later this month due to his connection to a scouting scandal by the Pacific League club.

Takashi Goto, president of parent company Seibu Holdings Inc., will be appointed owner of the ballclub on May 18, while Shinji Kobayashi, an executive director of Prince Hotels Inc., will replace Ota as president of the team.

In June 2005, all 12 pro ballclubs agreed on a declaration of ethical conduct which strictly forbids their provision of cash gifts to those involved in amateur baseball in their scouting activities.

Punishments dealt out Monday were limited to those involved in unethical conduct after the declaration. A special committee set up to investigate the Seibu Lions’ scouting scandal finished its activities, reporting no new improper money deals, last month.

The committee, headed by Keio University professor emeritus Masaru Ikei, instead proposed that the club realign its in-house structure and establish new compliance rules in order to avoid a repetition of such a scandal.