A scrapped ESPN story creates more questions amid theft allegations against Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter

A scrapped ESPN story creates more questions amid theft allegations against Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter

Shohei Ohtani’s longtime interpreter and friend, Ippei Mizuhara, was fired on Wednesday after being accused of stealing “at least $4.5 million” from the Los Angeles Dodgers star. However, a now-scrapped ESPN story has created more questions than answers.


According to ESPN’s Tisha Thompson, Mizuhara explained in a lengthy interview that after he’d accumulated a hefty gambling debt, Ohtani made wire transfers to pay off a bookmaker, who is now under federal investigation. However, a spokesman denied the comments shortly before a statement from Ohtani’s lawyers emerged claiming he’d been the victim of “massive theft.”

“After Ohtani agreed to pay the debts, Mizuhara said on Tuesday, Ohtani logged onto his own computer and sent the wire transfers under Mizuhara’s supervision in installments over several months last year,” Thompson wrote.




On Wednesday, Mizuhara suddenly changed his story, telling ESPN that Ohtani hadn’t transferred money to pay off his gambling debts and that he had “no knowledge” of them.

ESPN would later verify two wire transfers of $500,000 each made by Ohtani. Both had “loan” as the description and were paid to bookmaker Mathew Bowyer, who is currently under federal investigation tied to an alleged illegal gambling operation.

Authorities raided Bowyer’s property in October, seizing cash, casino chips, banking documents, computers and other potential evidence. Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney’s office investigating the case is the same one that exposed an illegal sports betting ring involving former minor league baseball player Wayne Nix. Nix is facing up to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business, which took in “millions of dollars” of bets through an off-shore website.

MLB reportedly wasn’t aware of the incident involving Ohtani and Mizuhara until Wednesday. However, several questions remain unanswered, including how he gained access to Ohtani’s funds and how the star didn’t realize two massive transfers.


Authorities have not contacted the league, Ohtani, or Mizuhara about the matter, per ESPN. Regardless, it’s a more than curious situation involving arguably the league’s biggest star, and you can believe this isn’t the last we’ll hear about it.



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