NHL watching, but Thomas Vanek’s agent reiterates client is in no criminal trouble – Minneapolis Star Tribune (blog)

While the National Hockey League said Friday it will continue to keep an eye on a federal illegal gambling and money laundering case in Rochester, N.Y., that Thomas Vanek has testified in as the government’s prime witness, the Wild forward likely won’t face league discipline unless he faces criminal charges or bet on hockey.

Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett, told the Star Tribune Friday that “Thomas is not in any way, shape or form involved in any illegal activities or in trouble here.”

Vanek bet on football and was paying off a gambling debt, according to Bartlett.

Vanek’s in the news again because a defense attorney for a man who pleaded guilty to illegal gambling and conspiracy to launder money Thursday alluded to the fact that the check his client helped launder came from Vanek while he played for the New York Islanders.

In an interview with WHEC-TV’s Berkeley Brean in Rochester, N.Y., lawyer Jim Wolford, who represents Mark Ruff, said the $230,000 “check that was identified as far as the money laundering was a New York Islander check.”

That check, apparently endorsed over to the men, was to pay off a gambling debt, Ruff admitted in court.

Asked what he was implying by saying the check was a New York Islander check, Wolford told WHEC-TV, “Thomas Vanek was here [in federal court], what, a couple months ago? I think at the last hearing he was playing for the Islanders.”

When asked if he was inferring the check came from Vanek, Wolford said, “It came from the Islanders. … Put it this way, I was a little surprised when I heard on the news that Mr. Vanek was claiming complete innocence with respect to this entire operation.”

Bartlett was incensed by the lawyer’s comments.

“If you read it quickly or you listen to his comments, it almost alludes to …read more

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