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Shohei Ohtani Says He Never Bet On Sports, Interpreter Lied To Him, Stole Millions – Update

UPDATED: Shohei Otani spoke out Monday for the first time after his former interpreter was accused of stealing millions from the Los Angeles Dodgers star’s account to place bets with an alleged bookmaker who is under federal investigation.

Otani addressed the media at a press conference at Dodger Stadium.

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“I am very saddened and shocked someone whom I trusted has done this,” Otani said seated next to Will Ireton, the team’s manager of performance operations, who translated. “Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has been telling lies,” Ohtani said. “I never bet on sports or have willfully sent money to the bookmaker.”

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Ohtani repeatedly stressed he was never knowingly involved in gambling. He did not provide any details on how interpreter Ippei Mizuhara was able to steal money from Ohtani’s accounts to pay his gambling debts.

“I never bet on baseball or any other sports or never have asked somebody to do it on my behalf, and I have never gone through a bookmaker to bet on sports. and was never asked to assist betting payment for anyone else,” Ohtani said.

Mizuhara was since fired, according to ESPN and the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the story.

You can watch Otani’s press conference below:

PREVIOUS, March 24: Shohei Ohtani plans to speak to the media Monday on the illegal gambling and theft allegations involving his former interpreter, who stands accused of “massive theft” by Ohtani’s attorneys.

Ohtani has a lot at stake in the conversation. Although neither he nor his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, have been charged with a crime, they are under an IRS investigation. Major League Baseball is also probing the matter. The story on how and why Ohtani’s money was transferred to an alleged bookmaker has already changed, and many questions remain unanswered.

Betting on baseball games is an automatic ban from the league, although players and club official can bet on other sports. However, there is no legal sports betting in California at the moment.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on Sunday endorsed Ohtani addressing the matter publicly.

“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m happy he’s going to speak and speak to what he knows and give his thoughts on the whole situation. I think it will give us all a little bit more clarity.”

Sunday’s Freeway Series opener at Dodger Stadium pits him against his former team, the Los Angeles Angels. The teams are playing three exhibition games before the Dodgers host the St. Louis Cardinals in their home opener Thursday.

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