April 19, 2024
Los Angeles Dodgers Supervisor Dave Roberts (30) stands with former Dodger announcer Vin Scully in the course of the a 2017 workforce ceremony honoring Scully earlier than a sport in opposition to the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photograph by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Because the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 5-2 within the Wednesday season opener at South Korea’s Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, a weird drama involving one in all their gamers was unfolding.

The interpreter for Shohei Ohtani was fired by the Dodgers Wednesday amid allegations he stole thousands and thousands of {dollars} from the Japanese pitcher and designated hitter with a purpose to place bets with a purported unlawful bookmaker.

Attorneys for Ohtani advised reporters, “In the middle of responding to latest media inquiries, we found that Shohei has been the sufferer of a large theft and we’re turning the matter over to the authorities.”

The Los Angeles Occasions reportedly made inquiries concerning the matter after studying that Ohtani’s identify had surfaced in a federal investigation of Orange County resident and alleged unlawful bookmaker Mathew Bowyer.

Sources advised the information group that Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, had stolen cash from the Dodgers star to position bets, and the sum of money concerned was allegedly within the thousands and thousands of {dollars}.

Mizuhara has been Ohtani’s private interpreter since he signed with the Angels in 2017. In keeping with The Occasions, Mizuhara was born in Japan however raised in Southern California, attending Diamond Bar Excessive College and UC Riverside.

Ohtani signed a $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers in December following six seasons with the Angels, and Mizuhara remained with him.

ESPN reported Wednesday there had been at the least $4.5 million in wire transfers from Ohtani’s checking account to the bookmaking operation. A spokesman for Ohtani initially claimed that Ohtani had transferred the cash to cowl Mizuhara’s playing money owed.

Bowyer’s lawyer, Diane Bass, advised The Occasions and ESPN he has by no means met or spoken with Ohtani. A supply advised ESPN that Bowyer was conscious that Ohtani’s identify was on the wire transfers, however he didn’t ask any questions so long as the cash was coming in.

Bowyer’s San Juan Capistrano residence was searched by federal brokers final 12 months.

In keeping with ESPN, Mizuhara gave the community a 90-minute interview Tuesday evening wherein he laid out his facet of the story — an interview organized by an Ohtani spokesman. However after the interview, the identical spokesman disavowed Mizuhara’s account and stated a press release can be made as a substitute by Ohtani’s attorneys, which occurred Wednesday alleging the “huge theft.”

Throughout the ESPN interview, Mizuhara, 39, stated he requested Ohtani final 12 months to repay his playing money owed, and Ohtani, whereas sad about it, agreed to take action. Mizuhara advised the community that Ohtani had no involvement in any betting, and the interpreter insisted that he didn’t notice his betting actions had been unlawful in California. He additionally stated he by no means guess on any baseball video games.

On Wednesday, nevertheless, Mizuhara recanted his feedback, telling ESPN that Ohanti had no data of his playing money owed and denying that Ohtani had transferred any cash to the bookmaking operation.

A Dodger spokesperson advised ESPN that Mizuhara spoke within the workforce clubhouse after its season-opening sport in Korea Wednesday morning, taking all blame for a narrative that was about to develop into public and admitting he has a playing dependancy.

In keeping with The Occasions and ESPN, the investigation into Bowyer, who has not been charged with against the law, includes the identical prosecutors who investigated an Orange County-based playing ring led by Wayne Nix, 46, a former minor league baseball participant from Newport Coast. Nix pleaded responsible to a federal cost of serving to function an unlawful sports activities playing enterprise. A sentencing date has not been set.

Nix’s longtime accomplice within the playing operation, Edon Kagasoff, 45, of Lake Forest, pleaded responsible in April 2022 to at least one depend of conspiracy to function an unlawful playing enterprise and was sentenced final 12 months to 6 months of probation and a $1,000 effective. He was additionally ordered to forfeit $3.1 million he earned by way of the operation.

That investigation additionally ensnared former Dodger slugger Yasiel Puig, who’s dealing with one federal depend every of constructing false statements and obstruction of justice. He initially agreed to plead responsible however later modified his thoughts.

A trial date has not been set.

Dodgers officers advised reporters that Mizuhara was fired by the workforce on Wednesday. The Dodgers didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Metropolis Information Service contributed to this report.