KOBE – The Hanshin Tigers decided on Friday to end negotiations with free agent closer Oh Seung-hwan, a target of a South Korean investigation into illegal gambling.
“We spoke to his agent and mutually agreed (to end negotiations),” said team president Keiichiro Yotsufuji, despite no judicial ruling yet being made. “This problem occurred and we are reaching the time limit to prepare for next season. We can wait no longer.”
Oh, 33, led the Central League in saves (41) for the second consecutive year this season and had been trying to sign with a major league team before being named on Monday in a widening probe by the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office on illegal overseas betting by South Korean nationals.
Oh was named by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency as being suspected of regularly patronizing illegal casinos in Southeast Asia.
“I’m full of remorse for manager Kanemoto and all those related to the club who expected good things from me,” Oh said in a statement issued by Hanshin.