Dodgers Fire Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter Over $4.5m Theft Linked to Gambling

  • $4.5m was transferred from Ohtani’s bank to an alleged illegal California bookmaker
  • Ohtani’s interpreter claimed that the baseball star helped him cover his gambling debts
  • Ohtani’s attorneys have since claimed their client was a victim of “massive theft”
Ohtani jersey
The Dodgers have axed Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter Ippei Mizuhara over theft allegations linked to illegal gambling. [Image:]

Allegations of theft

The Los Angeles Dodgers have fired the interpreter of their star player Shohei Ohtani over allegations of a “massive theft” linked to illegal gambling. According to ESPN on Wednesday, at least $4.5m was transferred from Ohtani’s bank account to an alleged illegal bookmaker in California.

The story has shifted dramatically since it first broke. Ohtani initially confirmed that he lent the money to Ippei Mizuhara to cover the interpreter’s gambling debts. Now, the Japanese baseball star’s attorneys are claiming their client was the victim of theft. Authorities are not accusing Ohtani of any wrongdoing.

can confirm that interpreter Ippei Mizuhara has been terminated.”

The Senior Communications Director for the Dodgers has stated the franchise is gathering information on the case and “can confirm that interpreter Ippei Mizuhara has been terminated.”

The axing of Mizuhara ends a decades-long interpreter relationship with Ohtani and comes on the same day the Dodgers were in South Korea playing the San Diego Padres in a regular season opener.

The initial story

Sports betting is illegal in California and the MLB’s policy is to ban “any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee” who bets on baseball or places bets via illegal bookmakers. At first, it seemed this story was a simple case of an MLB employee placing illegal wagers.

ESPN, which interviewed Mizuhara Tuesday, stated it reviewed bank records showing Ohtani’s name on two $500,000 payments to a bookmaking operation run by Southern California resident Mathew Bowyer. The Los Angeles Times reported that a federal prosecution team looking into a multimillion-dollar illegal sports betting scheme investigated Bowyer but did not charge him of any crime.

Mizuhara explained the reason for these payments during his interview, claiming he had asked Ohtani for assistance with his gambling debts. “Obviously, [Ohtani] wasn’t happy about it and said he would help me out to make sure I never do this again,” Mizuhara said, adding that he wanted “everyone to know … :

Shohei had zero involvement in betting.”

The interpreter, who is widely admired in Japan for his ability to translate Ohtani’s comments into colloquial English, also said he didn’t know what he did was illegal, and that he would “never do sports betting ever again.”

From gambling to theft

A spokesman for Ohtani initially confirmed Mizuhara’s claims, telling ESPN that the Dodgers superstar transferred funds to cover the gambling debts.

Mizuhara, however, has since changed his story, now reportedly saying Ohtani knew nothing of his gambling debts and did not transfer money.

Media reports meanwhile cite Ohtani’s attorneys, West Hollywood law firm Berk Brettler, as accusing the axed Dodgers interpreter of “massive theft.” A statement from Berk Brettler read: “In the course of responding to recent media inquiries, we discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft, and we are turning the matter over to the authorities.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *