Los Angeles baseball fans were thrilled when MLB star Shohei Ohtani was signed to the team for the 2024 season, but the breakout player has been embroiled in an unfortunate scandal due to his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, allegedly gambling the player’s money away.

Who Is Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara?

Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, not only worked alongside the Japanese-born pitching star but was a close friend. Mizuhara interpreted for Ohtani, translating Japanese to English and vice versa, for the baseball player’s team interactions and media appearances.

What Did Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara Do?

Mizuhara found himself in hot water after a bombshell report from ESPN was published on March 20, 2024. Mizuhara had been accused of “massive theft” of Ohtani’s money in order to cover illegal gambling debts, and in an interview with the outlet, Mizuhara claimed that Ohtani paid off his debts by wire transfer to help him break the harmful habit.

However, hours after ESPN’s report hit the headlines, Mizuhara walked back his statement and Ohtani’s legal team shot down his claims. He was subsequently fired from his role with the MLB star.

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“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 statement from Berk Brettler LLP read.

The pitching star maintained that he was not aware of the wire transfers made by Mizuhara, totaling $4 million, nor did he help his friend and interpreter. An investigation has since been launched by MLB, and questions about Mizuhara’s resume – including his previous work with MLB teams and place of higher education – have arisen as a result.

What Did Shohei Ohtani Say About His Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara?

Six days after ESPN’s report about Mizuhara was published, Ohtani broke his silence on the matter. In a 12-minute response, the pitcher said that he was routinely lied to by his interpreter and that he never made a sports bet himself.

“I am very saddened and shocked someone I trusted has done this,” Ohtani said. “I never bet on baseball or any other sports or never have asked somebody to do that on my behalf. Up until a couple days ago, I didn’t know that this was happening. … In conclusion, Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.”

The Dodgers star then addressed Mizuhara’s claims that he offered the interpreter financial assistance to curb gambling habits.

“To the representatives in my camp, Ippei told to the media and representatives that I on behalf of a friend paid off debt,” he said. “Upon further questioning, it was revealed that it was actually in fact Ippei who was in debt and told my representatives that I was paying off those debts. All of this has been a complete lie.”

Ohtani furthered his statement by revealing the the interpreter further misled the Los Angeles team, and that he was only made aware of Mizuhara’s illegal activity during a team meeting.

“Up until that team meeting, I didn’t know that Ippei had a gambling addiction and was in debt,” Ohtani said. “Obviously, I never agreed to pay off the debt or make payments to the bookmaker.”

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