NEW YORK -- For Alex Rodriguez, family loyalty comes at a steep price.
According to documents filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in June of 2013, Rodriguez paid nearly $1 million to his cousin, Yuri Sucart, in exchange for Sucart's silence regarding A-Rod's illegal PED use. In August of that year, Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games for his involvement in the Biogenesis drug scandal that resulted in the suspensions of 13 other Major League players as well. Rodriguez' suspension was upheld on appeal in January, but its length was reduced to the entire 2014 season, an unprecedented punishment for a drug offense by a U.S. professional sports league.
The story was first reported by the New York Daily News, citing documents filed in the pending criminal case against Sucart for his involvement with Biogenesis and its founder, Anthony Bosch, who pleaded guilty last month.
According to the court filing, Sucart's former attorney, Jeffrey Sonn, demanded $5 million on behalf of Sucart, who Rodriguez identified as a supplier of illegal PEDs for him when Rodriguez was exposed as a steroid user in a 2009 Sports Illustrated story. The filing says Rodriguez entered into a confidential settlement with Sucart on June 5, 2013, paying his cousin one payment of $700,000 for his silence, followed by three more payments that totaled $200,000.
Statements made by Patrick Sullivan, the prosecutor in the case against Sucart, suggest Rodriguez might be called as a witness against his cousin.
"[Rodriguez] has a prominent role in the government's proof of Count 1 and Count 2 conspiracies to distribute testosterone and human growth hormone," Sullivan said in the court papers.
Rodriguez's 162-game suspension ended with the conclusion of the World Series and he is said to be working out for a return to the New York Yankees, to whom he is under contract for three more seasons, for the 2015 season. He has not spoken publicly since the suspension went into effect.
"At some point in the future, Alex will have something to say," Ron Berkowitz, A-Rod's spokesman, told ESPN New York. "Today is not the time. When it is time, everyone will hear from Alex. Right now, he is working out and ready to return for 2015."
Yankee officials could not be reached for comment.