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Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter, Confidant Accused of Stealing ‘Millions’ to Gamble
Updated:2024-05-02 21:15    Views:189

The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani’s representatives have accused his interpreter and primary confidant of stealing “millions” as part of an illegal betting scheme.

Ohtani’s longtime handler and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara is accused by Ohtani’s lawyers of taking the money to place illegal wagers with alleged bookmaker Mathew Bowyer, the L.A. Times reported.

ESPN reported that a spokesperson for Ohtani initially told them on Tuesday that the two-time MVP willingly paid Mizuhara’s debts as a friend, a claim Mizuhara reaffirmed in a 90-minute interview with the outlet.

Then, on Wednesday, Ohtani’s spokesperson denied Mizuhara’s account.

“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,” the law firm representing Ohtani, Berk Brettler, said in a statement.

A text message to Mizuhara by the Action Network yielded no response.

Ohtani signed a 10 year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers this offseason.

The alleged bookmaker Bowyer is purported to have been associated with Wayne Nix, a bookmaker who pled guilty in 2022 to conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business.

Nix, a former Major Leaguer, allegedly had clients throughout the sports and entertainment ecosystem, including Michael Jordan, Maverick Carter, Yasiel Puig and others.

Carter’s interview with interrogators was recently publicized, in which he stated LeBron James was not involved in betting with the operation in any way.

And Puig pled guilty to lying to federal agents about his association with the illegal betting operation in 2022. He paid a fine of $55,000.

Mizuhara wasn't just an interpreter to Ohtani — he was a crucial member of his entourage. Mizuhara would drive him to and from games, provide advice on career decisions and serve as his main point of contact throughout the baseball season. Mizuhara — who grew up in neighboring Diamond Bar — would even sometimes cook meals for Ohtani.

Mizuhara and Ohtani’s relationship dates back to when the two-way star was 18-years-old as a rookie in Japan and blossomed into a nearly 12-year partnership.

When Ohtani decided to make the leap to MLB, he made it clear that Mizuhara be a part of his transition.

The Dodgers fired Mizuhara on Wednesday.