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Jun 4, 2024 1:57 pm

Investigation into Shohei Ohtani closed as interpreter pleads guilty

Ippei Mizuhara ohtani

Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani, pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges, admitting he stole millions from Ohtani to pay gambling debts.

Also Tuesday, Major League Baseball closed its investigation into the case, attributing its decision to “the thoroughness of the federal investigation that was made public, the information MLB collected, and the criminal proceeding being resolved without being contested,” an MLB statement read.

Ohtani has been cleared of any involvement, per the statement.

“MLB considers Shohei Ohtani a victim of fraud and this matter has been closed.”

Mizuhara entered his plea in a Santa Ana, Calif., courtroom after agreeing last month to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. Prosecutors said he took $17 million from Ohtani.

Mizuhara is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 25. The charges carry prison terms of up to 30 years and three years, respectively.

“I had fallen into major gambling debt. The only thing I could think was using his money to help pay for the debt,” Mizuhara told the court, according to Los Angeles television station KABC.

The Department of Justice said last month that it would recommend a shorter sentence to the judge if Mizuhara “demonstrates an acceptance of responsibility.”

The court appearance came the same day MLB issued a lifetime ban to infielder/outfielder Tucupita Marcano of the San Diego Padres for betting on baseball games.

Four others, including Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly and three minor leaguers, each received one-year bans for violating the league’s sports betting rules and policies.

–Field Level Media

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