Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, is reportedly expected to plead guilty to fraud after allegedly stealing money from the MLB star to pay off gambling debts.

Ohtani has said he had no knowledge of Mizuhara’s supposed gambling addiction nor that he had $4.5 million stolen.

Authorities believe they have evidence that Mizuhara actually shut off notifications on Ohtani’s bank account in which he would not know money was being taken out, the New York Times reported.

Amid differing stories Mizuhara told, there has been speculation that it was actually Ohtani gambling and that Mizuhara was taking the hit – two wire transfers totaling $1 million were sent in Ohtani’s name to a bookie.

But Ohtani said he has “never bet on baseball or any other sports, or never have asked somebody to do that on my behalf.”

“I’m very saddened and shocked that someone who I trusted has done this,” Ohtani said just prior to Opening Day.

Ohtani said he didn’t find out about Mizuhara’s debt and what he was doing with his accounts “up until a couple days ago” while the team was in South Korea for the recent Seoul Series against the San Diego Padres.

Ippei Mizuhara looks up


Ohtani’s attorneys told the Los Angeles Times that Mizuhara was stealing “millions” from the two-way star to gamble through an illegal bookmaker – Orange County, California, resident, Mathew Bowyer, who is under federal investigation.

Bowyer’s attorney, Diane Bass, told the outlet her client “never met, spoke with, or texted or had any contact in any way” with Ohtani.

Mizuhara spoke with Dodgers representatives at a team meeting that Ohtani mentioned in English after telling the ballplayer he would speak with him “one to one” afterward. 

“Up until that team meeting, I didn’t know that Ippei had a gambling addiction and was in debt. At that point, I never agreed to pay off the debt or make payments to the bookmaker.”

MLB announced it was investigating the matter.

Ohtani with interpreter

The Dodgers fired Mizuhara, who had been Ohtani’s personal translator since he joined the majors in 2018. Mizuhara even caught Ohtani’s bullpen sessions and often played catch with him in the outfield.

Ohtani signed a $700 million contract with the Dodgers in the offseason, the largest in North American sports history. Ohtani has deferred $68 million annually until after the deal is complete. It’s also reported that he is, by far, the sport’s largest earner in sponsors.

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