Former Interpreter of Shohei Ohtani Faces Federal Charges

A source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation confirmed to ESPN late Wednesday that the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers sensation Shohei Ohtani is facing federal charges in connection with the alleged theft of millions from the slugger.

The New York Times was the first to disclose Wednesday that Ippei Mizuhara, 39, is in talks to plead guilty and that the probe is nearing its completion.

Shohei Ohtani
Source: Forbes

Prosecutors allege that the interpreter used Mr Ohtani’s money to place wagers and deposited his winnings into an account he controlled.

Between November 2021 and January 2024, officials said he wired more than $16 million (£13 million) from Mr Ohtani’s account without authorization.

The charging statement claims that Mr Mizuhara, who served as Mr Ohtani’s de facto manager, took advantage of the fact that the Japanese sports star does not understand English.

According to the report, he contacted bank authorities and “falsely identified himself as [Mr] Ohtani to trick employees into authorizing wire transfers from [Mr] Ohtani’s bank account to associates of the illegal gambling operation” .

From January to March 2024, Mr Mizuhara allegedly spent $325,000 on baseball cards using money stolen from Mr Ohtani’s account.

On Thursday, a LA-based defense attorney representing Mr Mizuhara declined to comment on the charges.

Before the season, Ohtani signed a record 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers, making him the franchise’s face. He had just received his second unanimous American League MVP award.

His time in the United States began in 2018, and Mr Mizuhara has been a frequent companion. He and his wife were recently spotted in a photo, revealing Mr Ohtani’s wife, Mamiko Tanaka, after weeks of conjecture.

Last month, at a LA Dodgers news conference, Mr Ohtani stated, “I’m very saddened and shocked that someone I trusted has done this.”

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