Dodgers Star Shohei Ohtani Says He Never Bet on Baseball, Didn’t Pay Off Translator’s $4.5 Million Debt | Video

The Japanese player shares the moment he realized something was wrong, despite the fact he “didn’t have a translator on my side”

Superstar L.A. Dodgers baseball player Shohei Ohtani spoke out Monday about the gambling scandal involving his translator being in $4.5 million of debt and Ohtani’s money being used to pay off Ippei Mizuhara’s bookie. Despite early reports that indicated Ohtani had paid off his longtime translator’s debts due to their friendship, Ohtani subsequently shared that he never authorized that payment and Mizuhara had allegedly stolen millions of dollars from his accounts.

“I never bet on baseball or any other sports, and never have asked somebody to do it on my behalf,” Ohtani said Monday through a translator. “I have never went through a bookmaker to bet on sports.”

He noted that, “Up until a couple days ago, I didn’t know that this was happening.” Ohtani said that “Ippei has been stealing money from my account, and has told lies.”

The player explained that the media had reached out to one of his representatives asking about his involvement in sports betting, but that his translator had kept that inquiry from him.

“Ippei told the media and my representatives that I, on behalf of a friend, paid off debt,” Ohtani said. “Upon further questioning, it was revealed that it was actually in fact Ippei who was in debt and told my representatives that I was paying off those debts. And all of this has been a complete lie.”

Ohtani said that he started to realize “there was something amiss” at a team meeting after the Dodgers’ first game this season.

“Ippei was speaking English, and I didn’t have a translator on my side,” Ohtani said. “But even with that, I kind of understood what was going on and started to feel that there was something amiss.”

Shortly before that team meeting, Mizuhara had asked Ohtani to speak at their hotel afterward.

“Up until that team meeting, I didn’t know that Ippei had a gambling addiction and was in debt,” Ohtani said. “And obviously, I never agreed to pay off the debt or make payments to the bookmaker.”

Ohtani said he found out at the hotel from his translator about his “massive debt.”

“During that meeting, Ippei admitted that he was sending money using my account to the bookmaker,” Ohtani said. “Obviously, it was an absurd thing that was happening, and I contacted my representatives at that point.”

At that point, Ohtani said, he went to the Dodgers and his own lawyers, who also discovered that Mitzuhara had been lying to them. Ohtani’s lawyers recommended referring the matter to the authorities, which they then did.

“In conclusion, I do want to make it clear that I never betted on sports or had willfully sent money to the bookmaker,” Ohtani said. “To summarize how I’m feeling right now, I’m just beyond shocked. It’s really hard to verbalize how I am feeling at this point.”

With the season starting, Ohtani said, he planned to let his lawyers handle the matter going forward as investigations continue. He said that he also was “completely assisting in all investigations.”


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