March 21, 2024 2 min read


Dodgers Interpreter Fired amid Gambling Controversy

The case resembles another recent gambling scandal, which saw a former Jaguars employee embezzle $22 million

The Los Angeles Dodgers found themselves embroiled in controversy Wednesday afternoon as news broke that Ippei Mizuhara, longtime friend and interpreter for Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani, had been fired. The dismissal came amidst allegations of at least $4.5 million in wire transfers from Ohtani’s bank account to a Southern California bookmaking operation.

Conflicting Statements Raised Eyebrows

According to a recent ESPN report, Mizuhara accrued significant gambling debts to a bookmaking operation currently under federal investigation. Initially, a spokesman for Ohtani indicated that the baseball star had transferred the funds to cover Mizuhara’s gambling losses but later retracted his words, citing Ohtani’s attorneys’ intention to issue a statement.

This statement, released by Berk Brettler LLP, claimed that Ohtani had fallen victim to a massive theft without specifying the perpetrator. Meanwhile, Mizuhara provided detailed insights into the wire transfers in an interview with ESPN but refrained from commenting on the accusations of theft, likely hesitant because of the ongoing legal action against him.

The backdrop to this controversy involves federal investigations into a Southern California bookmaking operation headed by Mathew Bowyer. Wire transfer payments from Ohtani’s account to an associate of Bowyer’s have been under scrutiny. However, sources assert that Ohtani did not engage in gambling and that the funds aimed to cover Mizuhara’s losses.

Mizuhara Likely Chose to Protect Ohtani’s Image

Deposition hearings have revealed Mizuhara’s admission of substantial gambling debts incurred primarily through bets on international soccer, the NBA, the NFL, and college football, with no involvement in baseball betting. Mizuhara initially claimed that Ohtani agreed to settle these debts but later retracted his statement, disassociating Ohtani from his gambling activities and debts. 

The Dodgers’ decision to terminate Mizuhara’s contract adds to the legal and ethical concerns surrounding the gambling controversy. Mizuhara’s presence in the Dodgers’ dugout during Wednesday’s game against the San Diego Padres raised eyebrows, with the interpreter reportedly addressing the clubhouse afterward, admitting fault and acknowledging a gambling addiction.

Meanwhile, federal authorities are investigating the Southern California bookmaking operation linked to Mizuhara’s debts. The ongoing scrutiny echoes similar cases involving sports figures, including former MLB players and executives ensnared in illegal gambling and money laundering activities. The saga’s repercussions could reverberate beyond the baseball diamond, highlighting how gambling controversy can reach even seemingly uninvolved athletes.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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