Shohei Ohtani's Ex-Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara Negotiates Guilty Plea Following Gambling Scheme

By Madz Dizon

Apr 11, 2024 04:03 AM EDT

Shohei Ohtani's Ex-Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara Negotiates Guilty Plea Following Gambling Scheme
Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara arrive to a game against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch on February 27, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona.
(Photo : Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, is currently in negotiations to plead guilty to federal crimes related to the alleged theft.

Mizuhara was fired last month after accusations arose that he had stolen millions of dollars from Shohei Ohtani's bank account to settle his own debts with an illegal bookmaker.

Ippei Mizuhara Likely to Plead Guilty to Alleged Theft

According to anonymous sources close to the matter, the investigation into the alleged theft that came to light during the Los Angeles Dodgers' season opener in South Korea is nearing its conclusion. The inquiry, which started three weeks ago, has been progressing rapidly.

If Ippei Mizuhara were to enter a guilty plea before a federal judge, it would likely involve an acknowledgment of various facts pertaining to any unlawful activities.

This could potentially validate the account that Shohei Ohtani shared with journalists a couple of weeks ago, wherein he claimed to have no knowledge of the whereabouts of the money.

According to the New York Times, Mizuhara is in talks to admit guilt for several federal crimes connected to the scandal.

Sources said the investigation is being jointly conducted by the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.

Ohtani's legal team was the first to notify federal authorities about the reported theft. Ohtani publicly expressed his willingness to cooperate with both the federal investigation and the one being conducted by Major League Baseball.

The charges that Mizuhara may potentially face remain uncertain. However, according to the Times, three individuals familiar with the situation have stated that federal authorities possess evidence suggesting that Mizuhara changed the settings on Ohtani's account to disable alerts regarding transactions. 

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Shohei Ohtani Interpreter Scandal

Ohtani, 29, earned close to $40 million in salary while playing for the Los Angeles Angels. Mizuhara served as his translator during this time.

Ohtani's off-field income was estimated to be over $40 million annually when Mizuhara was accused of stealing money from him.

Mizuhara told ESPN that Ohtani was informed about the transactions and, although saddened by Mizuhara's significant financial loss, agreed to settle the debt for his friend in October.

Mizuhara later withdrew that story when speaking to ESPN, and shortly after, Ohtani's representatives made allegations of theft against him.

Ohtani chose to keep Mizuhara as his translator even after his departure from the Angels and his massive $700 million deal with the Dodgers in December. Mizuhara was always by his side, whether it was at a baseball game, a glamorous event, or a sports competition.

READ MORE: Florida Woman Aimee Harris, Who Stole Ashley Biden's Diary and Sold It for $40,000, Gets Month in Prison 

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