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HomeSportsShohei Ohtani says he never bet on sports, 'shocked' by scandal

Shohei Ohtani says he never bet on sports, ‘shocked’ by scandal

Shohei Ohtani expressed shock and sadness over the betting scandal involving his longtime interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, while vehemently denying any knowledge of Mizuhara’s debt and affirming that he “never bet on baseball or any other sports.”
“All of this has been a complete lie,” Ohtani said through his interpreter.
4 Shohei Ohtani (r.) speaks to reporters on March 25, 2024. MLB Network
Ohtani read a prepared statement to reporters Monday afternoon at Dodgers Stadium before an exhibition game against the Angels — declining to answer questions from the media — in his first public comments since his now-former interpreter was linked to alleged illegal bookmaker Mathew Bowyer and is alleged to have gambling debts of $4.5 million.
“Up until a couple of days ago, I did not know this was happening,” Ohtani said through his new interpreter, Will Ireton. “Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.”
He added: “I do want to make it clear that I never bet on sports or have willfully sent money to the bookmaker.”
Ohtani said he didn’t know about the gambling debt until the Dodgers held a team meeting after their first game against the Padres last week in Seoul, South Korea, and that’s when the pieces started to come together for the Dodgers star, whose lawyers said last week he was “the victim of a massive theft.”
4 Shohei Ohtani (r.) and fired interpreter Ippei Mizuhara (l.) in the Dodgers dugout during a game against the Padres in Seoul, South Korea on March 21, 2024. ZUMAPRESS.com
Monday marked the first comments Ohtani has made since the murky story came out last week about Mizuhara losing millions of dollars to Bowyer, and the funds getting transferred out of Ohtani’s account to cover the debts.
The Los Angeles Times and ESPN broke the wild story last Wednesday, reporting that Mizuhara had been accused of stealing “millions” from Ohtani.
Mizuhara has not been charged with any crimes.
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Later that same day, ESPN added to the already bizarre story, reporting that a Dodgers spokesperson had said that the Dodgers slugger had transferred $4.5 million to Bowyer to cover Mizuhara’s debts and made Mizuhara available to the outlet for an on-the-record interview.
Then, however, Ohtani’s camp “disavowed” Mizuhara’s account of what had happened.
4 Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) holds a bat in the dugout prior to the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium. Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
ESPN later reported that the mixup had apparently occurred because Ohtani’s camp had been relying on Mizuhara’s version of events before realizing what had happened.
Ohtani confirmed on Monday that Mizuhara had been trying to mislead him and his team and said that he “started to feel that there was something amiss” when Mizuhara was addressing the team, despite Ohtani not having a translator with him at the time.
Ohtani and Mizuhara met one-on-one later that day at his hotel and that’s when the scope of what was going on really set in, the two-way star said.
“That was when I found out that he had a massive debt,” Ohtani said about the sit-down. “It was revealed to me during that meeting that Ippei admitted he was sending money using my account to the bookmaker. At that moment, it was an absurd thing that was happening and I contacted my representatives at that point. When I was finally able to talk to my representatives, that’s when my representatives found out that Ippei had been lying the whole time. That’s when I started contacting the Dodgers and my lawyers.
“And the Dodgers and the lawyers at that moment found out also as well that they had been lied to.”
Mizuhara also worked as Ohtani’s translator during his Angels tenure, and the two had been close friends in addition to their working relationship.
Parts of Mizuhara’s past have come into question, as The Athletic reported he did not attend UC Riverside in college, as his old Angels bio said, nor did he work for the Red Sox, as previous media reports stated.
4 Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) in the dugout prior to the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con
Mizuhara told ESPN that he bet on sports such as soccer and football but never baseball.
“I’m very saddened and shocked that someone I trusted has done this,” Ohtani said about Mizuhara.
Ohtani signed a 10-year deal with the Dodgers worth $700 million this offseason, with $680 million of the money deferred until after the end of the contract.

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