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Shohei Ohtani Denies Sports Betting Allegations, Accuses Interpreter of Deceit and Theft

In a recent statement, Los Angeles Dodgers player Shohei Ohtani vehemently denied allegations of involvement in sports betting activities or knowingly funding any gambling debts incurred by his longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.

Ohtani, sitting beside Will Ireton, the team’s manager of performance operations who translated his words, expressed deep disappointment and shock at the betrayal of trust by Mizuhara, whom he considered a close friend. He disclosed that Mizuhara had been siphoning off millions from his accounts and weaving a web of lies for years.

Addressing reporters in a packed room, Ohtani, sporting Dodgers attire, read from a prepared statement in Japanese and refrained from fielding questions. He stressed repeatedly that he had never knowingly participated in any form of sports betting and provided no details on how Mizuhara had managed to embezzle funds to settle gambling debts.

Since joining the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, Ohtani had shared a close relationship with Mizuhara until revelations of the latter’s gambling activities surfaced. Mizuhara’s involvement with an alleged illegal bookmaker, Mathew Bowyer, has drawn the attention of the IRS’s criminal investigation unit.

Initially, Mizuhara claimed that Ohtani had settled his gambling debts at the interpreter’s request, alleging bets on various sports including international soccer, the NBA, the NFL, and college football. However, he later retracted his statement, asserting that Ohtani had no knowledge of the debts or any money transfers to bookmakers.

Ohtani rebuffed Mizuhara’s claims as “complete lies” and revealed that he had first learned of the interpreter’s gambling problem during a team meeting following a recent game in Seoul, South Korea. Struggling to comprehend the proceedings conducted in English, Ohtani was taken aback when he discovered Mizuhara’s confession of using Ohtani’s accounts to settle debts.

Expressing his shock and dismay, Ohtani asserted his commitment to cooperating with ongoing investigations while leaving legal matters to his attorneys. Despite the turmoil, he maintained his focus on the upcoming baseball season.

As Ohtani took to the field for an exhibition game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, he received a warm reception from the crowd, signaling their support amidst the controversy.

In conclusion, Ohtani’s resolute denial of involvement in sports betting and his accusations against Mizuhara underscore the severity of the situation, leaving many questions unanswered as investigations unfold.

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