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Rays’ Wander Franco released amid accusations of commercial sexual exploitation, money laundering

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco was granted conditional release by a Dominican Republic judge Friday amid accusations of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering.

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco appeared before a judge in the Dominican Republic Friday and was ordered released on the condition he appear before authorities once a month and pay $34,000 as he continues to face accusations of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering. 

Franco, 22, who was placed on administrative leave in August as MLB investigated allegations he had inappropriate relationships with underage girls, arrived at court in Puerto Plata Friday morning. 

After being taken into custody earlier in the week, Franco was escorted by police in handcuffs as members of the media surrounded him before his appearance. 


Prosecutors alleged that the MLB All-Star had a four-month relationship with a minor and that, in December 2022, he took her away from her home with the consent of the girl’s mother, according to The Associated Press. They also alleged that, during this time, Franco made payments to the girl’s mother. 

A subsequent raid of the girl’s home uncovered $13,700 in cash as well as $68,500 they said was found hidden behind a frame, according to the AP. 

At a second raid at a different home, police found a guarantee certificate from a local bank for $36,000 they said was delivered by Franco for the "commercial and sexual exploitation" of the girl.

Prosecutors also claimed the mother had a car worth $26,600 and purchased a property in Puerto Plata worth $36,000. 

According to the Associated Press, the mother of the girl is facing the same accusations as Franco. She was ordered held under house arrest as the investigation continues.


Franco, who hasn’t been charged, can leave the country but was ordered to report back to authorities in the Dominican Republic once a month. As part of the agreement, he was also ordered to pay $34,000. 

According to earlier reporting from ESPN, his arrest on Monday stemmed from his failure to appear before the prosecutor. At least two people have filed legal actions against the baseball player, and sources told ESPN he is being investigated for an alleged relationship with a third minor.

Franco last played in a game Aug. 12. He was placed on leave under MLB’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy with the players association

The Rays expressed support for the MLB investigation but have not commented on the matter since.

Franco was an All-Star for the first time this season.​​ He signed an 11-year, $182 million contract extension in November 2021, but a team option in 2033 could make the deal worth $233 million when it is over.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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