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Shohei Ohtani's interpreter fired by Dodgers after allegations of illegal gambling, theft

Shohei Ohtani and interpreter
Posted at 3:57 PM, Mar 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-20 19:10:26-04

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter and close friend has been fired by the Los Angeles Dodgers following allegations of illegal gambling and theft from the Japanese baseball star.

Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara was let go from the team Wednesday following reports from The Los Angeles Times and ESPN about his alleged ties to an illegal bookmaker. The team is in South Korea this week as Ohtani makes his Dodgers debut.

“In the course of responding to recent media inquiries, we discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft and we are turning the matter over to the authorities,” law firm Berk Brettler LLP said in a statement Wednesday.

Mizuhara has worked with Ohtani for years and been a constant presence with him in major league clubhouses. When Ohtani left the Los Angeles Angels to sign a $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers in December, the club also hired Mizuhara.

The team did not have an immediate comment Wednesday. Mizuhara's firing was confirmed by Major League Baseball.

Ohtani's stardom has spread worldwide, even as the two-way player has remained largely media-shy. The news of his recent marriage to Mamiko Tanaka shocked fans from Japan to the U.S.

On Tuesday, Mizuhara told ESPN that his bets were on international soccer, the NBA, the NFL and college football. MLB rules prohibit players and team employees from wagering — even legally — on baseball and also ban betting on other sports with illegal or offshore bookmakers.

“I never bet on baseball,” Mizuhara told ESPN. “That’s 100%. I knew that rule... We have a meeting about that in spring training.”

The Associated Press could not immediately reach Mizuhara for comment Wednesday.