Shohei Ohtani expresses his sadness and disbelief at Mizuhara's alleged theft and gambling.

Shohei Ohtani expresses his sadness and disbelief at Mizuhara’s alleged theft and gambling.

Baseball sensation Shohei Ohtani stated on Monday that he was unaware of Ippei Mizuhara, his now-fired translator, being engaged in suspected theft and gambling until a few days ago.
Through an interpreter, the Japanese-born Ohtani made his first public remarks about the issue that has overshadowed the start of MLB’s 2024 season. He expressed shock and sadness at hearing the charges.

After Ohtani’s agents said they “discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft and we are turning the matter over to the authorities,” the Dodgers dismissed Mizuhara last week.
Ohtani said he has never placed a sports wager at a news conference held from the team’s interview room and broadcast live on the MLB Network.
“Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies,” Ohtani said. Although Mizuhara was in debt, he informed the media and Ohtani’s management that the baseball player was clearing debts on a friend’s behalf.
My current state of mind may be summed up as follows: I’m simply in complete shock. Right now, it’s incredibly difficult for me to put into words how I feel,” Ohtani said.
He said that he is “completely assisting in all the investigations that are taking place right now” and that his attorneys had advised that authorities handle the situation since it includes theft and fraud.
Ohtani said he would let his legal team handle their business and focus on the game.
“I’m looking forward to focusing on the season and I’m glad we had the opportunity to talk,” he said.
The speech lasted little more than ten minutes, after which he declined to answer any questions from the media.
The Los Angeles Angels were the guests of the Dodgers for an exhibition game later on Monday.
Dave Roberts, manager of the Dodgers, had already expressed his support for Ohtani’s intention to speak out.
“I believe it’s excellent. Roberts said, “I think it’s the right thing to do,” on Sunday at a press conference, as reported by Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times. “I’m glad he will talk, share his knowledge, and provide his opinions on the matter as a whole. We’ll have a little bit more clarity, I believe.
In the off-season, Ohtani, the two-time MVP of the American League, inked a historic $700 million contract with the Dodgers.
There are continuing investigations.
According to ESPN investigative writer Tisha Thompson, Mizuhara informed her that he amassed enormous debts from gambling—at least $4.5 million, based on Thompson’s account—with an illicit gambling ring purportedly operated by Orange County, California resident Mathew Bowyer.
Mizuhara and Bowyer are not facing any criminal charges.
The IRS’s criminal investigation division’s Los Angeles field office “is involved in an investigation involving Mathew Bowyer and Ippei Mizuhara,” a representative named Scott Villiard told NPR.
It is unlawful to gamble on sports in California. Federal charges of money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion may be brought against those suspected of operating an illicit gaming network.
The MLB is looking at this as well. The league “has been gathering information since we learned about the allegations involving Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara from the news media,” the league said in a letter to NPR. It also said that it is looking into the situation.
Mizuhara claims he didn’t gamble on baseball; instead, he bet on international soccer and other sports. MLB penalizes players or staff who wager on baseball.
Major League Baseball’s Rule 21 on misbehavior governs gambling. The guideline includes provisions for players or staff who place wagers with unlicensed bookies. According to the regulation, the commissioner has the authority to impose a punishment in certain situations that is judged “appropriate in light of the facts and circumstances of the conduct.”
Allegedly, the interpreter altered his account.
Why did Mizuhara allegedly alter his explanation of how his betting losses were reimbursed is a crucial point that still has to be addressed.
According to Thompson’s account to NPR, during her first 90-minute interview with Mizuhara earlier this week, he informed her that Ohtani had consented to settle his interpreter’s debts related to gambling, even going so far as to personally make wire transfers.
However, Mizuhara quickly took back his words, and Ohtani’s lawyers at the Berk Brettler legal firm said they thought their client had been the victim of “a massive theft.”
“When I said, ‘Did you lie to me in that interview?’ he said, ‘Yes,’” Thompson said. “And then he tells me Ohtani knows nothing about his gaming debts and did not do the wire transfers.”
Ippei Mizuhara: Who is she?As per an MLB report from 2021, Mizuhara attended UC Riverside and Diamond Bar High School while growing up close to Anaheim. She was born in Japan.
However, some of Mizuhara’s resume’s veracity has come under scrutiny; according to NBC Los Angeles, UC Riverside authorities were unable to locate records of Mizuhara’s attendance.
When Ohtani played with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Nippon Professional Baseball league from 2013 to 2017, Mizuhara, 39, and Ohtani, 29, got to know one another in Japan. Mizuhara supported the squad as a translator.
Ohtani invited Mizuhara to accompany him as his translator when he decided to go to the MLB in the United States. Since then, he has often been seen with the pitcher and dual-threat hitter Ohtani. He even caught behind Ohtani in the 2021 All-Star Game home run derby.
Three months ago, Mizuhara was on stage with Ohtani as the Dodgers made his formal club introduction. He was described as “Shohei’s interpreter — mostly Shohei’s best buddy, close friend — Ippei Mizuhara” by play-by-play commentator Joe Davis.
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