Shohei Ohtani’s Former Interpreter to Plead Guilty in Gambling Scandal

Ippei Mizuhara, who worked as an interpreter for MLB star Shohei Ohtani, is apparently planning to enter a plea of guilty to defraud after diverting funds from Ohtani to settle gambling debts.

Although Mizuhara was first accused of stealing around $4.5 million, the inquiry revealed that over $16 million had been taken.

Mizuhara reportedly stole the money from the LA Dodgers star, and on Friday, he handed himself over to federal officials on April 12th.

According to reports, authorities have information that suggests Mizuhara may have disabled alerts on Ohtani’s bank account so he would be unaware of any withdrawals.

Ohtani said he was unaware of Mizuhara’s debt and financial dealings until they played the San Diego Padres in South Korea during the Seoul Series.

Ohtani’s legal team told local media that Mizuhara was embezzling millions of dollars to fund his gambling via a bookmaker, Mathew Bowyer of Orange County.

According to Bowyer’s lawyer, Diane Bass, her client had zero communication with Ohtani.

Ohtani explained that he recently learned Ippei was deeply in debt and addicted to gambling, and he never consented to pay his debts or the bookmaker.

Mizhuhara was let go by the Dodgers, and Major League Baseball said that it was looking into the issue.

Mizuhara has served as Ohtani’s personal translator since he debuted in the majors in 2018. He often joins Ohtani in the outfield for games of catch.

According to U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada, Mizuhara allegedly became Ohtani’s de facto manager due to his extensive involvement in the star’s life and career. In his capacity, he was able to fund his voracious addiction to illicit sports betting by withdrawing funds from the account, sometimes deceiving and impersonating Ohtani to bank officials.

In the offseason, Ohtani became the highest-paid player in sports in North American history when he signed a record-breaking $700 million deal with the Dodgers.