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Marc Anthony distances sports agency from Cuban smuggling scandal

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Marc Anthony distances sports agency from Cuban smuggling scandal

Singer Marc Anthony has distanced himself and his new sports management firm from an agent accused of helping to smuggle Cuban baseball stars into the U.S.

The salsa superstar launched Magnus Sports, a division of his Magnus Media firm, in November (15), in partnership with bosses at baseball agency Praver Shapiro Sports Management.

However, the new company has since become embroiled in controversy after baseball player agent Bart Hernandez, who has worked for Praver, was arrested in Miami, Florida on Friday (19Feb16) and charged with human trafficking.

Hernandez, who has specialised in representing Cuban defectors, stands accused of conspiring with two convicted traffickers to bring a Cuban player, only referred to in the indictment by the initials "L.M.T.", to the U.S. illegally. Sources tell ESPN.com the person in question is outfielder Leonys Martin Tapanes, who plays for the Seattle Mariners.

Hernandez has denied the charges and now Anthony and executives at Magnus Sports have moved to dismiss any suggestion of their involvement in the alleged scandal.

"Magnus Sports and Mr. Marc Anthony were surprised and concerned to learn of the charges filed against independent contractor Bart Hernandez," reads a statement issued to TMZ.com on Monday (22Feb16).

"We strongly and in no uncertain terms condemn any and all forms of the behavior contained in the indictment. We trust that the legal process will result in a just verdict."

Travel between the U.S. and Cuba has only recently been permitted for the first time since diplomatic relations between the two countries were frozen in 1961, at the height of the Cold War.

- Cover Media