Shohei Ohtani will speak on Monday as theft allegations against his interpreter spur an investigation
Shohei Ohtani will speak on Monday as theft allegations against his interpreter spur an investigation

Lee Jin-man/AP

Ipei Mizuhara, left, the interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani, right, was dismissed from the team last week.



CNN

Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani is expected to speak to the media Monday as Major League Baseball investigates theft allegations against his former translator.

“I’m happy that he’s going to speak — speak with what he knows and give his thoughts on the whole situation,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters Sunday. “I think it will give us a little more clarity.”

Roberts spoke before the Dodgers’ 5-3 win over Ohtani’s former team, the Los Angeles Angels. The teams meet again on Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Ohtani’s longtime Japanese translator, Ippei Mizuhara, was fired after Ohtani’s lawyers accused him of “large-scale theft” of millions of dollars and placing bets at a bookie that is under federal investigation, according to ESPN and the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the story.

The scandal overshadowed the start of the new MLB season, challenged the public’s understanding of one of baseball’s biggest stars and renewed scrutiny of professional sports’ proximity to gambling.

A lawyer for Mathew Bowyer, the former bookie who is under federal investigation in connection with the gambling, said he never met or had “direct contact” with Ohtani but did business with Mizuhara.

“Matthew Bauer has never spoken, emailed or had any contact with Shohei Ohtani,” attorney Diane Bass told CNN in an on-camera interview Saturday.

The attorney also said Ohtani’s interpreter never bet on baseball.

MLB and the Internal Revenue Service are separately investigating the translator.

“Major League Baseball has been gathering information since we learned of the allegations involving Shohei Ohtani and Ipei Mizuhara from the media,” the league said in a news release. last week. “Earlier today, our investigative department began its formal process of investigating the matter.”

The IRS Office of Criminal Investigation in Los Angeles is investigating both Mizuhara and Bowyer, IRS spokesman Scott Williard told CNN on Friday. Bauer is a California resident whose bankruptcy court documents show he had $425,000 in gambling debts more than a decade ago.

Ohtani and Mizuhara first worked together from 2013 to 2017, when Mizuhara served as a translator for the Nippon-Ham Fighters, Ohtani’s team with Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League, according to MLB.com. When Ohtani joined the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, he asked Mizuhara to join him as his rookie season interpreter, and Mizuhara eventually followed the star to the Dodgers, CNN previously reported.

Tisha Thompson of ESPN, citing multiple unnamed sources told CNN’s The Lead on Wednesday that at least $4.5 million was withdrawn via wire transfer from Ohtani’s bank accounts, although it was unclear who initiated the transfers.

CNN has reached out to Mizuhara and Ohtani’s agent for comment. Attorneys for Ohtani have not specified how they believe the funds were stolen, fueling questions about the scandal that emerged as Ohtani made his long-awaited debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers.



03:03 – Source: CNN

MLB opens investigation into Ohtani’s allegations

Bass, Bowyer’s attorney, told CNN that her client had been dealing with Ipei Mizuhara.

When discussing Ohtani’s name for “one of the wire transfers to Bowyer’s organization to cover a bet,” Bass said Saturday, “to the best of Mr. Bowyer’s understanding, the bet was from Ippei or covered by Mr. Ohtani for Ippei.”

Bass stressed that while Bauer is under federal investigation, he has not been charged with a crime. She said Boyer shut down his bookmaking operation in October 2023 when “the feds showed up at his house.”

Bauer met Mizuhara after a Padres game in San Diego in 2022, according to Bass. She told CNN she did not know how often Mizuhara bet or how much he bet, but said Boyer told her Mizuhara bet regularly on “mostly football, occasionally football and basketball, but never baseball’.

Mizuhara told ESPN on Tuesday, “I’ve never bet on baseball… That’s 100 percent. I knew that rule. … We have a meeting about that in spring training.”

Bass said Mizuhara’s gambling “got out of control at a certain point” but “he was making regular payments for a significant period of time.”

Asked if the payments came from Mizuhara’s or Ohtani’s account, Bass said, “I honestly don’t know how many transfers came from which account(s), (or) if it was more than one account. I don’t have access to that information,” she told CNN.

Variable explanations and statements

The saga began with reporters asking questions about alleged wire transfers from Ohtani’s bank account. Here’s how the scandal unfolded:

Mizuhara told ESPN in an interview Tuesday arranged by Ohtani’s representative that he asked Ohtani last year to pay off his gambling debt, ESPN reported. Ohtani had no part in his betting, Mizuhara said.

But after the interview, Ohtani’s spokesperson “disavowed” Mizuhara’s account, then released a statement saying Ohtani was the victim of a theft.

On the same day, Mizuhara was seen smiling in the LA dugout and talking with Ohtani before translating for the star in the team’s 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres in the MLB season opener in Seoul, South Korea, in Wednesday.

Later on Wednesday, Mizuhara was fired as Ohtani’s translator.

After learning of the allegations against Ohtani and Mizuhara, MLB announced Friday that it would continue to investigate. The IRS also confirmed it is investigating the translator.

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