HomeTop StoriesShohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter was released on $25,000 bail in Los Angeles

Shohei Ohtani’s ex-interpreter was released on $25,000 bail in Los Angeles

One day after Shohei Ohtani’s ex-interpreter was charged with bank fraud for stealing $16 million from the Japanese baseball star, he was released on $25,000 bail after his first court appearance in Los Angeles.

Ippei Mizuhara had surrendered to federal authorities on Friday morning. He did not enter a plea during his court appearance.

The Dodgers superstar accused his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, of massive theft and a federal investigation revealed that money had been stolen to cover Mizuhara’s gambling debts, the amount far exceeding what was first reported as “at least $4.5 million”.

“According to the complaint, Mr. Mizuhara stole this money largely to finance his voracious appetite for illegal sports betting,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said at an April 11 news conference.

While questions lingered about whether Ohtani was involved, or knew about the bets, he denied it, and federal law enforcement officials are calling Ohtani a victim.

Acting as Ohtani’s interpreter and right-hand man, Mizuhara set up a bank account for Ohtani’s baseball salary deposits, had full access and even posed as Ohtani to withdraw money from the account.

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Estrada said Mizuhara has placed thousands of sports bets since 2021, but not on baseball.

When Mizuhara was first confronted with the theft charge, he said Ohtani had paid his gambling debts for him. A day later, Mizuhara changed his story and said Ohtani knew nothing about the debts and had not transferred any money to bookmakers.

On March 25, Ohtani held a Dodger Stadium press conference He said he had never bet on sports and had never knowingly paid gambling debts accrued by his interpreter.

“I am very saddened and shocked that someone I trusted did this,” the Japanese star said through a new interpreter.

“Ippei stole money from my account and told lies,” Ohtani said.

While Mizuhara, 39, will appear briefly in court on Friday, he is expected to be released on bail. The U.S. Attorney’s Office does not expect him to enter a plea.

Mizuhara faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the charges. He is due back in court on May 9.

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