KIX 92.1Oldies 98.397.9 The BeatQ-102Delta Country 105.7Star 101KIX 92.7WNIXWNLA AM 1380

MLB opens investigation into Shohei Ohtani interpreter allegations

SHARE NOW

(LOS ANGELES) — Major League Baseball said Friday it has begun formally investigating the scandal involving Shohei Ohtani and his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.

“Major League Baseball has been gathering information since we learned about the allegations involving Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhari from the news media,” MLB said in a statement Friday. “Earlier today, our Department of Investigations (DOI) began their formal process investigating the matter.”

Mizuhara was fired Wednesday by the Los Angeles Dodgers — the team with which Japanese pitcher Ohtani signed a record $700 million contract this offseason — according to a brief statement from the team. He had worked with the Dodgers as Ohtani’s interpreter after serving in the same capacity with the Los Angeles Angels.

The termination came after allegations of a “massive theft” tied to gambling debts to a Southern California bookmaking operation that is under federal investigation, multiple sources told ESPN.

“The Dodgers are aware of media reports and are gathering information,” the Dodgers said in a statement. “The team can confirm that interpreter Ippei Mizuhara has been terminated. The team has no further comment at this time.”

Berk Brettler LLP, a law firm that represents Ohtani, said in a statement Wednesday, “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 did not specify who stole the funds from Ohtani and the Dodgers did not give an official reason for the firing.

However, according to ESPN, Mizuhara lost his job when reporters began asking questions surrounding at least $4.5 million in wire transfers from Ohtani’s bank account to an illegal bookmaking operation.

In an ESPN interview scheduled through Ohtani’s spokesperson Tuesday night, Mizuhara initially said Ohtani had agreed to pay off his interpreter and friend’s gambling debts. But a day later, the spokesperson disavowed Mizuhara’s claim and issued the statement claiming Ohtani had been the victim of “massive theft.”

Mizuhara said Ohtani was never aware of his gambling and was not involved.

“I want everyone to know Shohei had zero involvement in betting,” he told ESPN. “I want people to know I did not know this was illegal. I learned my lesson the hard way. I will never do sports betting ever again.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.