MLB launches formal investigation into allegations surrounding Shohei Ohtani, interpreter

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MARCH 21: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen in the dugout during the 2024 Seoul Series game between San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers at Gocheok Sky Dome on March 21, 2024 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball said on Friday that it has launched an investigation regarding Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani and his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.

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“Major League Baseball has been gathering information since we learned about the allegations involving Shohei Ohtani and Ippei (Mizuhara) from the news media,” MLB said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “Earlier today, our Department of Investigations began their formal process investigating the matter.”

Mizuhara allegedly incurred gambling debts to a Southern California bookmaking operation, the Los Angeles Times reported. Ohtani, Mizuhara and the Dodgers were in South Korea with the San Diego Padres for the Seoul Series Wednesday when the news came out and Mizuhara was fired immediately after, CBS Sports reported.

Attorneys for the outfielder-pitcher claimed the interpreter stole the money after the Times learned that Ohtani’s name had been mentioned in the investigation of bookmaker Mathew Bowyer of Orange County, California. The attorneys said they looked into the matter after the newspaper asked about the probe, according to the newspaper.

The IRS confirmed that Mizuhara and Mathew Bowyer were under a criminal investigation Thursday, according to the AP. No additional details were provided.

The Padres and Dodgers returned to the United States on Thursday but the MLB did not release a statement until Friday when sharing information about their investigation, the AP reported.

Ohtani has not been placed on administrative leave by the MLB yet. He continues to remain an active player, CBS Sports reported.

Ohtani agreed to a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers in December. The deal made Ohtani the highest-paid player in MLB history.

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