Report: Ohtani's Ex-Interpreter Wants Plea Deal

Sources say Ippei Mizuhara may have stolen more than $4.5M from Dodgers star
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2024 7:26 AM CDT
Report: Ohtani's Ex-Interpreter Is Seeking Federal Plea Deal
Ippei Mizuhara stands next to Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani and translates during an interview at Dodger Stadium earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

The Los Angeles Dodgers and superstar Shoehei Ohtani might soon be able to put a major league gambling scandal behind them. Sources tell the New York Times that Ippei Mizuhara is in talks to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the scandal. Mizuhara, Ohtani's longtime friend and interpreter, allegedly stole millions of dollars from Ohtani's accounts to fund illegal gambling. The Times' sources say prosecutors have uncovered evidence that Mizuhara stole more than the $4.5 million that was wired to a bookmaker under federal investigation.

The sources say authorities believe they have evidence that Mizuhara changed the settings on Ohtani's accounts so the Japanese player would not receive alerts about transactions. Mizuhara was fired by the team on March 20. Days later, Ohtani told reporters that he had never bet on sports and Mizuhara had lied to him and stolen from him. "I am very saddened and shocked someone whom I trusted has done this," Ohtani said.

Sources tell ESPN that investigators believe Ohtani was telling the truth—and that they are working on federal charges against Mizuhara. The interpreter was fired while the team was in South Korea for the season's opening games. The Times' sources say law enforcement officials stopped Mizuhara after he got off the plane back in California, but he wasn't arrested at the time. (More Shohei Ohtani stories.)

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