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Shohei Ohtani’s ex-interpreter allegedly stole $16 million from Dodgers star: DOJ Ippei Mizuha

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) — The former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani now faces federal charges over allegations he stole millions from MLB’s highest-paid player in a gambling scheme, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Ippei Mizuhara has been charged with bank fraud for allegedly stealing more than $16 million from Ohtani to “finance his voracious appetite for illegal sports betting,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said during a press briefing.

The federal investigation is being conducted by the Los Angeles offices of IRS Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations, the main investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Dodgers announced it had fired the Japanese interpreter on March 20, after the gambling controversy surfaced. The team did not provide a specific reason for Mizuhara’s termination.

Ohtani addressed the scandal for the first time on March 25 during a press conference. In a prepared statement, Ohtani said through an interpreter, “I am very saddened and shocked that someone who I trusted has done this.”

“I never bet on baseball or any other sports,” Ohtani continued. “I never asked somebody to do that on my behalf and I have never went through a bookmaker to bet on sports.”

The 29-year-old pitching and hitting star, who signed a $700 million deal in the offseason to join the Dodgers, claimed he did not know about Mizuhara’s gambling until after a Dodgers game in Korea the prior week.

“Up until a couple days ago, I didn’t even know that this was happening,” he said at the time.

Mizuhara had worked with the Dodgers as Ohtani’s interpreter after serving in the same capacity with the Angels. Ohtani and Mizuhara’s relationship dates back to 2013, when Ohtani played for the Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League and Mizuhara was an interpreter for the team.

MLB announced it was investigating the situation last month, two days after the Dodgers fired Mizuhara.

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