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Apr 11, 2024 12:18 am

Reports: Shohei Ohtani’s ex-interpreter faces federal charges

Dodgers, Ohtani, Mizuhara

Shohei Ohtani’s former translator plans to plead guilty to federal crimes related to the alleged theft of money from the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger, the New York Times and ESPN reported on Wednesday.

Ippei Mizuhara, 39, was fired by the Dodgers last month after admitting that he stole at least $4.5 million from Ohtani to pay off gambling debts.

According to the reports, Mizuhara’s plea agreement would include an admission that corroborates Ohtani’s version of the events — that he never wagered on sports, had no idea that Mizuhara did so and was the victim of a “massive theft” by his former friend.

Mizuhara’s attorney, Michael G. Freedman, declined comment to both the Times and ESPN.

The alleged theft became public knowledge when wire transfers from Ohtani’s bank account were discovered in a federal investigation of an alleged illegal bookmaker.

Mizuhara initially said that Ohtani agreed to cover his gambling debts, then backtracked and admitted that Ohtani was unaware of the payment to the bookie.

Per the reports, the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California conducted a joint investigation into Mizuhara’s actions.

According to the Times, Mizuhara interacted with law-enforcement officials upon returning from South Korea after the Dodgers’ season-opening trip, but he was not arrested and his current whereabouts are unknown.

He was fired by the Dodgers while the team was in South Korea after initially telling the club that Ohtani aided him in paying off his debts.

Ohtani, a two-time American League Most Valuable Player with the Los Angeles Angels, signed a 10-year, $700 million deal with the Dodgers in December.

–Field Level Media

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