Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter Fired Amid Allegation of ‘Massive Theft’


The Dodgers interpreter for Shohei Ohtani was fired Wednesday amid allegations of illegal gambling and theft from the Japanese baseball star, according to the Los Angeles Times, which was first to report the news.

Ippei Mizuhara, a close friend and interpreter for Ohtani, was accused of “massive theft” and using the athlete’s funds to cover bets with an allegedly illegal bookmaker.

“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,” law firm Berk Brettler LLP told The Times.

Ohtani’s lawyers accused the interpreter of theft after the publication reportedly learned that the ballplayer’s name surfaced during an investigation of Orange County resident, Mathew Bowyer. In response to the paper’s inquires, Ohtani’s reps looked into the matter.

Bowyer, a bookmaker, dealt directly with Mizuhara, who placed bets on soccer matches and other sports — except for baseball — beginning in 2021, sources told ESPN. Payments were wired from Ohtani’s account to an associate of Bowyer’s, per sources and bank data reviewed by the outlet.

In a Tuesday interview with ESPN, Mizuhara said that he had asked Ohtani in 2023 to pay off his gambling debt — sources said the amount had reached $4.5 million. The interpreter claimed he thought bets placed via Bowyer were legal.

“Obviously, he [Ohtani] wasn’t happy about it and said he would help me out to make sure I never do this again,” Mizuhara said. “He decided to pay it off for me.” He added, “I want everyone to know Shohei had zero involvement in betting. I want people to know I did not know this was illegal.”

However, by Wednesday, Mizuhara walked back his statement and said the athlete was not aware of his gambling debts and did not transfer money to Bowyer’s associate.

“Obviously, this is all my fault, everything I’ve done,” Mizuhara said Wednesday. “I’m ready to face all the consequences.”

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According to The Times, the probe into Bowyer involves the same prosecution team investigating a multimillion-dollar illegal sports gambling scheme surrounding a bookmaking operation led by former minor league baseball player Wayne Nix of Newport Beach.

This is a developing story.



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