Shohei Ohtani’s Former Interpreter Negotiating Guilty Plea: Report

Gambling Scandal

Prosecutors found evidence that Ippei Mizuhara may have stolen more money from the baseball star than the initial $4.5 million he was accused of, the New York Times reported

Nearly three weeks after Major League Baseball opened an investigation into illegal gambling and theft allegations against Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara is reportedly negotiating a guilty plea to the purported theft, according to the New York Times.

The NYT, which cites three people briefed on the matter, described the probe into the accusations as “rapidly nearing a conclusion.” Federal prosecutors found evidence that Mizuhara may have stolen more than the initial $4.5 million reported last month, per the NYT, which adds that investigators believe they have evidence that Mizuhara altered Ohtani’s bank account settings so that the baseball player would not be alerted of any transactions.

The investigation is being helmed by the Los Angeles offices of the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal division and the Department of Homeland Security, together with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Last month, news of the allegations against the athlete’s longtime translator first broke with a Los Angeles Times article. The paper said Mizuhara was fired amid allegations of illegal gambling, with Ohtani’s lawyers accusing the interpreter of stealing the baseball player’s money to place bets. The athlete’s lawyers made the claim after The Times learned that Ohtani’s name had appeared in a federal investigation into the allegedly illegal bookie, Matthew Bowyer. 


Shortly after, ESPN published its own report that included quotes from an interview with Mizuhara, who previously claimed that he’d asked Ohtani in 2023 to pay off his gambling debts. Before the outlet published its piece, Mizuhara walked back his statements and claimed Ohtani knew nothing about his gambling debts and didn’t transfer any money to Bowyer’s associate on his behalf.

Ohtani later issued his first public comments, and said he was “saddened and shocked” by the illegal gambling allegations against Mizuhara, and denied placing bets on sports.