Shohei Ohtani set to address gambling, theft allegations against ex-interpreter Ippei Mizuhara

Monday will mark the first time that Shohei Ohtani will address the illegal gambling and theft allegations against his former interpreter and friend Ippei Mizuhara — perhaps giving his teammates insight for the first time as well. 

The Dodgers star has not addressed the team as a goup since the news broke last Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told reporters on Sunday, though he did say there may have been some one-on-one conversations. 

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) holds a bat in the dugout prior to the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

“I think that he’s had one-off conversations with players,” Roberts said, according to The Associated Press. 

But the Dodgers manager is welcoming the chance for Ohtani to address what’s been going on, which has flipped the baseball world on its head. 

“It’s the right thing to do,” Roberts said, per ESPN. “I’m happy he’s going to speak and speak to what he knows and give his thoughts on the whole situation. I think it’ll give us all a little bit more clarity.”

Shohei Ohtani (R) of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara watch Major League Baseball’s season-opening game against the San Diego Padres from the dugout in Seoul before the gambling drama unfolded.

While Ohtani has not been accused of gambling, his involvement in Mizuhara’s issues has still raised some concerns and at the very least confusion. 

Ohtani’s name appeared during an investigation by the same U.S. attorney’s office into an illegal bookmaking operation run allegedly run by Mathew Bowyer. 

What to know about Shohei Ohtani’s accusations against his former interpreter

Lawyers representing Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani have accused his now-former interpreter and longtime friend Ippei Mizuhara of “massive theft” in a $4.5 million bombshell.

Mizuhara, who followed the two-time AL MVP from the Angels after he signed a 10-year, $700 million deal this offseason, reportedly accrued massive gambling debts he needed to pay off.

Mizuhara first told ESPN Ohtani offered to pay off the debt and later changed his story, insisting the Japanese star was unaware of the eight-nine wire transfers made from his accounts to an alleged illegal bookmaker.

Ohtani’s camp has “disavowed” Mizuhara’s initial story, per ESPN.

He was fired shortly after the Dodgers’ season opener against the Padres in Seoul, South Korea, and Ohtani has yet to publicly address the situation, though his camp is pushing for a law enforcement investigation amid an IRS probe.

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

All sides claim Ohtani has no involvement in any gambling.


Originally Mizuhara told ESPN that Ohtani had been aware of wire transfers from his own account to the operation in an effort to pay off Mizuhara’s debts, but the translator later retracted what he said and an Ohtani spokesperson disavowed the comments. 

Later, a law firm representing Ohtani claimed the the star player had “been the victim of a massive theft” at the hands of Mizuhara.

Major League Baseball has launched an investigation into the situation and Ohtani is expected to be able to play while it is going on.

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