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Shohei Ohtani interpreter accused of ‘massive theft’


Fired by Dodgers organization

Shohei Ohtani's interpreter has been fired by the Los Angeles Dodgers amid allegations he stole millions of dollars from the Japanese slugger to place bets with a purported illegal bookmaker, according to an online report, and Ohtani is facing questions today about the transactions.

Attorneys for Ohtani, responding to inquiries from the Los Angeles Times, told the paper in a statement Wednesday, “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.''

According to The Times, the paper made inquiries about the matter after learning that Ohtani's name had surfaced in a federal investigation of Orange County resident and alleged illegal bookmaker Mathew Bowyer. Sources told the paper that Ohtani's interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, had allegedly stolen money from the Dodgers star to place bets, and the amount of money involved was in the millions of dollars, according to The Times.

Dodger officials told The Times that Mizuhara was fired by the team on Wednesday. Mizuhara has been Ohtani's personal interpreter since he signed with the Angels in 2017.

Ohtani signed a $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers in December following six seasons with the Angels, and Mizuhara remained with him.

ESPN reported Wednesday there had been at least $4.5 million in wire transfers from Ohtani's bank account to the bookmaking operation. A spokesman for Ohtani initially told ESPN that Ohtani had transferred the money to cover Mizuhara's gambling debts.

Bowyer's attorney, Diane Bass, told The Times and ESPN he has never met or spoken with Ohtani. A source told ESPN that Bowyer was aware that Ohtani's name was on the wire transfers, but he didn't ask any questions as long as the money was coming in. Bowyer's San Juan Capistrano home was searched by federal agents last year.

According to ESPN, Mizuhara gave the network a 90-minute interview Tuesday night in which he laid out his side of the story–an interview arranged by an Ohtani spokesman. But after the interview, the same spokesman disavowed Mizuhara's account and said a statement would be made instead by Ohtani's attorneys, which happened Wednesday alleging the “massive theft.''