Shohei Ohtani opens up about Ippei Mizuhara gambling investigation

Shohei Otani spoke out during an investigation into gambling allegations against his former interpreter.

After Ippei Mizuhara was indicted this week on serious bank fraud charges for allegedly stealing $16 million from Ohtani to cover gambling debts, the Japanese superstar opened up about the circumstances.

The Dodgers designated hitter said he is “grateful” for the current situation but wants to continue focusing on baseball.

“I am very grateful for the Justice Department’s investigation,” Otani said in Japanese on Friday. According to the Los Angeles Times. “Personally, I would like to take a break from this and concentrate on baseball.”

Shohei Otani talked about the investigation into Ippei Mizuhara. AP

During the Dodgers’ opening series in Seoul, South Korea in March, Ohtani’s agent said the two-way player was the victim of “massive theft.”

ESPN reported in March that Mizuhara was suspected of stealing $4.5 million from Ohtani.

But federal prosecutors this week alleged that the former Dodgers interpreter – who was fired after the initial story broke – stole more than $16 million from Ohtani.

According to the affidavit, Mizuhara allegedly impersonated Otani and made wire transfers to the bank of an alleged illegal bookmaker based in California through recorded phone calls to the bank. became.

Mizuhara is said to have made approximately 19,000 bets, winning $142 million and losing $183 million.

The allegations against Mizuhara were discovered in March.

“Technically speaking, I stole from him,” Mizuhara wrote in an encrypted text message reviewed by investigators on March 20. “It’s over for me.”

Mizuhara appeared in Los Angeles U.S. District Court on Friday and was released on $25,000 bail. According to The Athletic.

The newspaper reported that as part of his release, he was prohibited from gambling or visiting casinos, and was also prohibited from having any contact with Otani.

Mizuhara also had to return her passport.

Attorney Michael G. Friedman walks on the day Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara is scheduled to appear in federal court. Reuters

Mizuhara’s attorney, Michael Friedman, said Friday that the former interpreter “wants to move forward with the case as soon as possible so that he can make his feelings known.” [Mizuhara] You can take responsibility.

“He wishes to apologize to Mr. Ohtani, the Dodgers, Major League Baseball, and his family. As noted in court, he also seeks treatment for his gambling,” Friedman said in a statement. He added, The Athletic reported.