Tampa Bay Rays’ Star Released Amid Explosive Accusations of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Money Laundering

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Wander Franco, the shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays, appeared in front of a Dominican Republic judge on Friday. He was released under the condition that he return to authorities every month and pay $34,000.

Franco, who was placed on administrative leave by MLB in August after it investigated allegations that he had improper relationships with girls underage, appeared in court in Puerto Plata on Friday.

Franco, who was arrested earlier this week, was handcuffed by the police as the media gathered around him.

According to The Associated Press, prosecutors alleged that Franco had a four-month-long relationship with a girl and that he removed her from her home in December 2022 with her mother’s consent. The Associated Press reported that Franco also made payments to her mother during this period.

According to the AP, a subsequent raid on the girl’s house revealed $13,700 cash and $68,500 hidden behind a picture frame.

In a second raid, the police discovered a guarantee from a bank in the area for $36,000 that Franco had allegedly delivered for the “commercial and exploitation sexual” of the young girl.

The prosecution also said that the mother owned a car valued at $26,600, and had purchased a house in Puerto Plata for $36,000.

The Associated Press reports that the mother of this girl faces the same allegations as Franco. She was placed under house arrest while the investigation continued.

Franco, who is not charged, may leave the country, but he was told to report to the authorities in the Dominican Republic every month. He was also required to pay $34,000 as part of the agreement.

ESPN reported earlier that his arrest was due to his failure to appear in front of the prosecutor. Two people have brought legal action against the baseballer, and ESPN sources say he’s being investigated over an alleged relationship between him and a third minor.

Franco played his last game on August 12. Franco was placed on leave by MLB’s domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault policy.

The Rays have expressed their support for the MLB’s investigation, but they have not made any further comments since.

Franco became an All-Star this season for the first. In November 2021 he signed an 11-year contract extension worth $182 million. However, a team option for 2033 could increase the value to $233 million.