Shohei Ohtani addresses ex-translator’s illegal betting scandal

Shohei Ohtani addresses ex-translator’s illegal betting scandal
via YouTube
Bryan Ke
18 days ago
Shohei Ohtani denied any involvement in the illegal betting scandal of his former long-time interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, as he publicly addressed the issue for the first time on Monday.
Key points:
  • Speaking in a press conference, the 29-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers two-way star accused Mizuhara, 39, of allegedly stealing money from his bank account and lying.
  • “The season is going to start, so I’m going to obviously let my lawyers handle matters from here on out, and I am completely assisting in all investigations that are taking place right now,” Ohtani said through his new interpreter Will Ireton.
  • Born in Tokyo, Ireton has been with the Dodgers since 2016, initially serving as the interpreter for Kenta Maeda during his early years with the team.

Catching up:
  • Mizuhara, who had worked with Ohtani from 2013 to 2017 in Japan and later when the latter was picked up by the Los Angeles Angels, was fired from the Dodgers on Wednesday after he was accused of “massive theft” while the team was in Seoul.
  • The Los Angeles field office of the IRS’s criminal investigation division allege Mizuhara transferred $4.5 million from Ohtani’s bank account to another account linked to illegal bookmaker Mathew Bowyer. Federal agents raided Bowyer’s home in October 2023.
The details:
  • At the press conference, Ohtani said he first learned of Mizuhara’s illegal gambling scandal during a team meeting after the Japanese star’s first Dodgers game in South Korea. Ohtani added that Mizuhara shared the details with him in a one-on-one conversation following the team meeting.
  • Mizuhara spoke to ESPN on March 19, initially claiming that he informed Ohtani about his gambling debts last year. According to Mizuhara, the MLB baseball star allegedly agreed to pay off his debt to ensure that he would “never do this again.”
  • He retracted his statement the following day, asserting that Ohtani had no knowledge of his gambling debts and denying that any money was transferred. Ohtani reiterated the same sentiment on Monday, confirming that he never transferred any money and has never bet on any sports.
  • According to the MLB’s rule set, it is illegal for any MLB team employees or players to bet any amount of money on a baseball game. The punishment includes a one-year ban for individuals with no duties in the game or a permanent ban for those actively participating in the game.
  • Mizuhara clarified that he never placed bets on baseball games; instead, he only gambled on international soccer, the NBA, NFL and college football.
 
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