Baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez, who was recently reinstated into the New York Yankees lineup after a season-long suspension, paid his cousin nearly $1 million in exchange for keeping quiet over the third baseman’s steroid use, according to a report.
Court documents cited by the New York Daily News show that Rodriguez’s cousin, Yuri Sucart, threatened to expose the superstar’s doping secrets unless he coughed up “enormous sums of money.”
Rodriguez caved, and reportedly paid Sucart $700,000 as part of a confidential settlement in June 2013, in addition to three more payments that totaled $200,000.
The documents were filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and were made public Monday after a judge ordered Sucart to pay $600 a month for a court-appointed attorney to represent him.
Rodriguez was suspended by the Major League Baseball in August 2013 for 211 games for his involvement in the Biogenesis drug scandal that resulted in the suspensions of 13 other MLB players. His suspension was upheld on appeal earlier this year, but the length was reduced to the entire 2014 season, an unprecedented punishment for a drug offense by a U.S. professional sports league.
Sucart has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to distribute testosterone and human growth hormone in connection to the Biogenesis investigation.
Prior to the 2009 season, Rodriguez publicly admitted to using steroids that were provided by Sucart between the 2001 and 2003 seasons, while playing for the Texas Rangers.
The Daily News reported that Sucart’s former attorney, Jeffrey Sonn, wrote to the baseball star in December 2012 requesting $5 million and a “life estate” for his client and his wife.
“Yuri, even after he was accused of being a steroid mule for you, kept your confidences of all your activities while you played for the Rangers and the Yankees,” Sonn reportedly wrote in the letter.
According to The Daily News, Rodriguez received the letter demanding money just as the Biogenesis investigation by MLB and federal agents in Florida began heating up. He began paying Sucart about two months before outgoing MLB commissioner Bud Selig hit the player with the suspension.
In court documents, prosecutor Patrick Sullivan seemed to suggest Rodriguez could be a witness against Sucart.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami and Yankee officials have declined to comment.