Shohei Ohtani’s Former Translator in Plea Talks Over Gambling Case

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Report: Shohei Ohtani’s Former Interpreter Negotiating Plea Deal amid Gambling Scheme

Federal authorities have determined that Shohei Ohtani, star player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, fell victim to fraud involving his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. Mizuhara allegedly stole $4.5 million from Ohtani’s bank account to settle gambling debts with an illegal bookmaking operation. According to TMZ Sports, Mizuhara is now in talks to plead guilty to federal charges related to the theft, as reported by Tim Arango and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times.

Ohtani has publicly denied involvement in any sports betting and accused his ex-interpreter of stealing money and spreading falsehoods. Multiple reports suggest that federal investigations corroborate Ohtani’s claims, indicating that Mizuhara’s actions may have been even more extensive than initially reported.

The New York Times, citing sources, reveals that evidence suggests Mizuhara may have embezzled more money from Ohtani than the $4.5 million initially reported. Investigators also believe that Mizuhara altered Ohtani’s bank settings to prevent him from receiving transaction alerts.

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani (Credits: CBS Sports)

TMZ Sports asserts that federal authorities have determined Ohtani was unaware of the gambling debts and that Mizuhara embezzled funds without Ohtani’s knowledge. Ohtani has been cleared of any wrongdoing and is not connected to gambling or bookmaking activities.

The investigation, jointly led by the Los Angeles offices of the IRS’s criminal division and the Department of Homeland Security, along with the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California, was initiated after Ohtani’s lawyers contacted federal authorities about the theft. Authorities have also interviewed Ohtani to gather more information about his relationship with Mizuhara.

Allegations against Mizuhara surfaced on March 20 during the Seoul Series between the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. ESPN’s Tisha Thompson reported on Mizuhara’s claims that Ohtani agreed to settle his gambling debts, only for Mizuhara to later retract his statement, asserting that Ohtani had no knowledge of the debts or involvement in gambling activities.

Ohtani’s legal team issued a statement confirming their discovery of the theft and their decision to involve authorities. Recent reports and investigations support Ohtani’s assertion of being a victim in the case.


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