Report: Thomas Vanek tied to federal gambling investigation
According to News 10 in Rochester, N.Y., new Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek has been connected to a federal gambling investigation.
A law enforcement source tells News10NBC that former Amerk and Buffalo Sabres star Thomas Vanek is connected to the investigation tied to the Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte.
On Monday morning, News10NBC got a call saying Vanek walked in the federal court building downtown. When he and his lawyer walked out two hours later, we had a crew there waiting to talk to the hockey star.
Let's be clear. Thomas Vanek is not charged with any crime and he voluntarily came to the federal court building with his lawyer. But our law enforcement sources say he's connected to that gambling investigation.
With scant details, it’s hard to know for sure what kind of involvement is being alluded to in this report. Vanek and lawyer Joel Daniels did not comment when approached by News 10’s reporter, as can be seen in the video above.
Steve Bartlett, Vanek’s agent, released a statement from the new Wild forward Monday evening to address the situation:
"Representatives of the U.S. Federal Government have asked for my cooperation in an investigation. I am not the subject of any investigation or prosecution. I will fully cooperate with the U.S. Federal authorities in their investigation or in any proceedings arising out of it."
Bartlett also told News 10 that Vanek is simply a witness in the case, which could possibly explain the steadfast no commenting from a stoic Vanek and his lawyer as they exited the courthouse. That kind of thing doesn't look good on TV, but with such little known about Vanek's involvement at this time, it's not a surprise that Vanek and his agent would not address the media.
According to News 10, the ongoing investigation centers on the owners of the restaurant and bar in question, Paul Borrelli and Joseph Rupp, who are each facing 23 counts of illegal gambling.
Vanek played one season with the Rochester Americans in 2004-05 before embarking on an eight-plus-season run with the nearby Buffalo Sabres. He was traded to the New York Islanders from the Sabres early in the 2013-14 season and finished out the year with the Montreal Canadiens after another trade.
This is not the kind of offseason news Vanek or his new team would want to be dealing with after all of the excitement that surrounded his joining the Wild as an unrestricted free agent. Vanek signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract with Minnesota on July 1.
Without much known beyond the few details about Vanek's involvement and just the statement through Bartlett to go off of, it's hard to draw any conclusions at this point. Any time you hear about a federal investigation, however, it is going to raise eyebrows. This will remain a situation worth monitoring as the investigation progresses.
We’ll try to add more details as they become available.
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