Shohei Ohtani Defied Ex-Interpreter’s Request to Cover Up Fraud, Report

AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani, right, and his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, leave after at a news conference ahead of a baseball workout at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, March 16, 2024.

NEW YORK (Jiji Press) — Major League Baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani refused a request from his former longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, to go along with his story that the Los Angeles Dodgers player had paid Mizuhara’s massive gambling debts to a bookmaker, according to a report by The New York Times.

In a team meeting after the opening game of this season in Seoul on March 20, Mizuhara, who was charged by U.S. federal prosecutors last week with bank fraud, explained in English that Ohtani had taken over the former interpreter’s debts to the bookmaker, according to the U.S. paper.

As Ohtani was unable to fully understand the situation, he and Mizuhara held talks around midnight on that day in a conference room at a hotel in Seoul, with just the two of them there.

Mizuhara confessed to Ohtani that he had incurred massive debts to the bookmaker and had been stealing Ohtani’s money to pay them off, the paper reported.

The former interpreter then asked Ohtani to go along with the story he had told to the superstar’s teammates, but Ohtani refused the request, according to the report.

Ohtani called his agent into the conference room and Ohtani’s advisers released a statement shortly after that the superstar was the victim of a huge theft.

On Thursday, Mizuhara was charged for allegedly wire transferring more than $16 million to the bookmaker from Ohtani’s bank account. Mizuhara appeared in a federal court in Los Angeles on Friday.