Dodgers Player Shohei Ohtani Denies Knowledge of Interpreter Using His Funds for Sports Betting

Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as he warms up prior to a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on March 25, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
6:11 PM – Monday, March 25, 2024

In regards to the betting scandal involving his longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, Shohei Ohtani has finally spoken out.


Before the Dodgers Stadium preseason game against the Angels on Monday afternoon, Ohtani read a prepared statement to the media, but declined to answer any questions.

“I never bet on baseball or any other sports, or never have asked someone to do that on my behalf, and have never went through a bookmaker to bet on sports,” Ohtani said via his new interpreter, Will Ireton. 

29-year-old Ohtani maintained that he was not aware until “a couple of days ago” that Mizuhara was “stealing money from [his] account” in order to place bets.

“Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies,” he asserted.

His former interpreter, who purportedly owes $4.5 million in gambling debts, was connected to Mathew Bowyer, an alleged illicit bookmaker.

The pitcher and designated hitter went on to say that until the Dodgers’ team meeting began following their opening game in Seoul last week against the Padres, he was completely unaware of the gambling.

These were his first remarks following the enigmatic report that surfaced last week regarding Mizuhara losing millions of dollars to suspected black market operator Mathew Bowyer, and the money being moved from Ohtani’s account to pay off the debts.

“I do want to make it clear that I never bet on sports or have willfully sent money to the bookmaker,” the Dodgers player continued.

“All of this has been a complete lie,” Ohtani added. “Ippei obviously basically didn’t tell me about the media inquiry. So Ippei has been telling everyone around that he has been communicating with me on this account to the media and my team, and that hasn’t been true.”

Ohtani made his first remarks on Monday since the enigmatic report surfaced the previous week regarding Mizuhara losing millions of dollars to Bowyer and the money being taken out of Ohtani’s account to pay off the debts.

The shocking news that Mizuhara had been charged with stealing “millions” from Ohtani was first reported by ESPN and the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

Mizuhara is not facing any criminal charges.

ESPN expanded on the story later that day, stating that a Dodgers representative had said that the slugger sent $4.5 million to Bowyer to settle Mizuhara’s debts and had made Mizuhara available for an on-the-record interview. That is, until Ohtani’s side “disavowed” Mizuhara’s version of events.

Later, ESPN revealed that the confusion seems to have resulted from Ohtani’s staff relying on Mizuhara’s account of events before discovering the truth.

Even though Ohtani did not have a translator with him at the time, he said on Monday that he “started to feel that there was something amiss” when Mizuhara was addressing the team. Ohtani also revealed that Mizuhara had been attempting to deceive him and the team behind his back.

When Ohtani and Mizuhara had a one-on-one meeting at his hotel later that day, the full gravity of the situation seemed to become apparent.

“That was when I found out that he had a massive debt,” Ohtani said about the discussion. “It was revealed to me during that meeting that Ippei admitted he was sending money using my account to the bookmaker. At that moment, it was an absurd thing that was happening, and I contacted my representatives at that point. When I was finally able to talk to my representatives, that’s when my representatives found out that Ippei had been lying the whole time. That’s when I started contacting the Dodgers and my lawyers.”

“And the Dodgers and the lawyers at that moment found out also as well that they had been lied to,” he added.

According to Mizuhara, who spoke with ESPN, he has wagered on football and soccer but “never” on baseball.

“I’m very saddened and shocked that someone I trusted has done this,” Ohtani said about his old translator.

This offseason, Ohtani signed a $700 million, ten-year contract with the Dodgers, of which $680 million is deferred until after the contract expires.

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