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FBI Probes Washington National GM For Bonus Skimming

Jim Bowden/washington nationals photo
Jim Bowden/washington nationals photo

The FBI is keeping busy with baseball these days.  Agents are looking into whether pitching star Roger Clemens lied to Congress. They just got all-star shortstop Miguel Tajeda to plead to lying to Congress. They’re gearing up for the Barry Bonds’ steroid trial on March 2. Heck. They might as well just replace the umpires with FBI agents.

By Melissa Segura
Sports Illustrated
A federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses given to baseball prospects from Latin America is looking at Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden as far back as 1994, when he was GM of the Cincinnati Reds, according to a baseball executive familiar with the investigation.

Two sources inside baseball say that a long-time scout in Latin America, Jorge Oquendo, 47, is the man who links the FBI’s investigations of Bowden and his special assistant Jose Rijo to that of former Chicago White Sox senior director of player personnel David Wilder.

Last May the White Sox fired Wilder and two Dominican-based scouts after allegations surfaced that they had pocketed money earmarked for player signing bonuses. Oquendo worked for Wilder in 2006 and 2007, as well as for Bowden with the Reds in 1994 and again with the Reds from 2000 through 2003. Oquendo left Cincinnati in 2005, two years after Bowden was fired. (Bowden became Nationals GM in 2004.)
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