Ohtani denies betting on sports, ‘shocked’ that interpreter stole money

LOS ANGELES — Shohei Ohtani, the Dodgers’ star player, held a press conference on Monday to address allegations that he had bet on sports. He denied the accusations and stated that his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, had stolen money from him and lied about it.

Ohtani explained that Mizuhara had been taking money from him for years without his knowledge and had spread false information about him in media interviews. The former interpreter was fired by the Dodgers after wire transfers totaling at least $4.5 million were discovered to be going from Ohtani’s bank account to a bookmaking operation under federal investigation.

Ohtani spoke alongside Will Ireton, the team’s manager of performance operations who was acting as interpreter, during his nearly 12-minute speech. He expressed shock and sadness at Mizuhara’s betrayal and did not take any questions from the media.

Despite ongoing investigations by MLB and federal prosecutors, Ohtani is expected to continue playing for the Dodgers. The commissioner has discretion in issuing penalties for players involved in illegal sports betting activities. The last known case related to this issue was in 2015 when a player was fined, but Ohtani emphasized that he had never engaged in any illegal betting activities.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts supported Ohtani’s decision to address the situation publicly, stating that it was important for clarity on the matter. He hoped that Ohtani’s public statement would help clarify the situation further. Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Angels in December before leaving for a historic $700 million contract with the Dodgers last year.

In his closing remarks, Ohtani reiterated his innocence and stated that he had never bet on sports or been involved in any illegal betting activities. He emphasized that he had never authorized anyone to place bets on his behalf and had never used a bookmaker for sports betting purposes.

Overall, while ongoing investigations continue into this matter, it is clear that Shohei Ohtani has taken steps to address any wrongdoing by an individual associated with him and will continue to play professionally as he pursues another World Series title with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season.

By Riley Johnson

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