Shohei Ohtani’s lawyers accuse interpreter of ‘massive theft’ tied to alleged gambling

Associates of Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani on Wednesday accused his interpreter of engaging in a “massive theft” of the ballplayer’s money to place bets with an allegedly unlawful bookmaker who is the goal of a federal investigation.

Legal professionals for Ohtani manufactured that declare immediately after The Instances discovered that Ohtani’s name experienced surfaced in the investigation of Mathew Bowyer, an Orange County resident. Ohtani’s associates looked into the actions of the interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, in response to The Times’ queries, a source shut to the subject stated. Two sources told the newspaper that the income included was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In a assertion, the West Hollywood law agency Berk Brettler claimed, “In the training course of responding to recent media inquiries, we identified that Shohei has been the target of a substantial theft and we are turning the subject above to the authorities.”

Makes an attempt to achieve Mizuhara were being unsuccessful. It is unclear no matter whether he employed an lawyer.

Mizuhara put bets with Bowyer, in accordance to the sources, who asked for anonymity to share delicate information.

The Dodgers on Wednesday fired Mizuhara, a crew spokesman mentioned. 1 of the resources mentioned that Mizuhara was not truthful when questioned about The Times’ inquiries. He was nonetheless decoding for Ohtani on Wednesday in Seoul.

Ohtani, a world sensation who signed a history 10-calendar year, $700-million deal with the Dodgers in December just after playing 6 years with the Angels, could not be attained for comment. He is with the Dodgers in Seoul for a period-opening collection towards the San Diego Padres.

Big League Baseball has not been contacted by prosecutors, a spokesman explained.

Bowyer has not been billed with a criminal offense, reported his legal professional, Irvine-dependent Diane Bass. Federal agents raided Bowyer’s San Juan Capistrano home very last calendar year as component of the investigation.

Bass advised The Periods that Bowyer never ever had speak to with Ohtani. “Mathew Bowyer hardly ever achieved, spoke with, or texted, or experienced get hold of in any way with Shohei Ohtani,” she claimed.

The U.S. attorney’s workplace in L.A., which is overseeing the investigation, did not answer to requests for remark.

MLB gambling plan prohibits “any participant, umpire, or Club or League formal or employee” from betting on the video game or creating unlawful bets on other sports activities. The punishment for gambling with an illegal bookmaker or their agent is not specified in MLB regulations, but is still left up to “such penalty as the Commissioner deems proper in light-weight of the details and conditions of the conduct.”

The investigation into Bowyer will involve the identical prosecution crew that has specific a multimillion-greenback illegal athletics gambling scheme anchored in Orange County, in accordance to The Times’ resources and court docket documents. At the very least a dozen persons have been charged in that wider probe — such as ex-Dodger Yasiel Puig, who has pleaded not guilty — that centered on a bookmaking operation led by previous minimal league baseball participant Wayne Nix of Newport Beach, the data present.

A resource informed The Times that Bowyer had bragged to associates in Las Vegas that he had an Ohtani connection. The source reported Bowyer did so for “marketing purposes” in his alleged bookmaking company.

Immediately after The Situations published its story, ESPN reported that an unnamed Ohtani spokesman informed the sporting activities outlet previously that the ballplayer was covering Mizuhara’s gambling money owed with Bowyer. In accordance to ESPN, the spokesman then manufactured Mizuhara accessible to offer that variation of situations in an interview but later disavowed the account.

Mizuhara was born in Japan and grew up in Southern California. He graduated from Diamond Bar High School in 2003, in which he played on the soccer team.

Mizuhara very first crossed paths with Ohtani while doing the job as an English-language interpreter for American gamers on the Nippon-Ham Fighters, Ohtani’s Japanese crew in the Nippon Specialist Baseball league.

When Ohtani signed with the Angels in late 2017, Mizuhara turned his personal interpreter. Mizuhara followed Ohtani to the Dodgers in the course of the offseason.

Mizuhara has been a regular companion of the extremely private Ohtani all through the player’s MLB job. The two typically travel to the ballpark together. Mizuhara executed grocery operates when Ohtani was hurt. They are seldom seen apart close to staff amenities. Their wives even appeared to have struck up a romantic relationship not too long ago, shelling out time together in the course of the team’s present-day trip to South Korea.

In modern yrs, Ohtani has become the deal with of Main League Baseball and one particular of the most celebrated athletes in the environment. Ahead of he signed with the Dodgers, Ohtani was the most sought-following cost-free agent in baseball background, and his gargantuan contract is similarly unprecedented.

Bowyer has appeared in various court filings around the a long time. That consists of a $1.75-million judgment towards him for defaulting on a line of credit — a “marker,” in gambling parlance — issued to him by Foxwoods Vacation resort On line casino, a tribal gambling hall in Connecticut. A tribal court imposed the judgment in April 2019 an lawyer for the on line casino filed an application to enter the judgment in Orange County Remarkable Court in Might 2023. The casino’s legal professional claimed the judgment has not been contented.

The Aria Resort and On line casino in Las Vegas alleged in a lawsuit filed in July 2011 that Bowyer bounced a $250,000 check out to the institution. The circumstance was dismissed six months later on.

Instances personnel writers Dylan Hernández and Jack Harris contributed to this report.