MLB investigating Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter amid gambling allegations

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Major League Baseball announced Friday it has opened an investigation into the allegations surrounding Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani and his now ex-interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

“Major League Baseball has been gathering information since we learned about the allegations involving Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara from the news media. Earlier today, our Department of Investigations (DOI) began their formal process investigating the matter.”

The investigation comes two days after The Times first reported that representatives of Ohtani accused Mizuhara, his longtime interpreter and close friend, of engaging in a “massive theft” of the two-way star’s funds, with millions of dollars of Ohtani’s money allegedly used to pay off gambling debts Mizuhara owed to an illegal bookmaker.

Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers once the news broke Wednesday.

The circumstances surrounding the situation have been the subject of intense speculation, both online and around the rest of the baseball industry.

Before The Times’ story, Mizuhara had conducted an on-the-record interview with ESPN on Tuesday in which he claimed Ohtani had paid off his gambling debts, which ESPN reported totaled at least $4.5 million.

Before that interview was published, however, ESPN said that Mizuhara — whose first interview with the outlet was arranged by a “spokesman for Ohtani” — recanted his story and said that Ohtani had no knowledge of his gambling debts, nor had the two-way star been the one to transfer the money from his accounts.

Ohtani has yet to address the situation. MLB did not respond to a detailed list of questions sent before its announcement Friday of an investigation.

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