Shohei Ohtani claims he ‘never bet on baseball’ in first public comments about gambling scandal – Washington Examiner

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MLB megastar Shohei Ohtani addressed the gambling scandal involving his former longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, on Monday. It was Ohtani’s first public comments since news of the scandal broke last week.

Speaking through a new translator, Ohtani denied any wrongdoing and blamed Mizuhara for the controversy. 

“Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies,” Ohtani said.

FILE – Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani, right, and his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, leave after a news conference ahead of a baseball workout at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, March 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

The Los Angeles Dodgers superstar also denied ever betting on any sports, including baseball. He maintained that he never asked anyone to place any bets, nor did he ever go “through a bookmaker to bet on sports.”

“I never bet on baseball or any other sports or never have asked somebody to do that on my behalf,” Ohtani said. “And I have never gone through a bookmaker to bet on sports.”

Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers last week after the news of at least $4.5 million in wire transfers from Ohtani’s bank account to a gambling operation was discovered. There were at least nine payments of $500,000 to a gambling operation in California.

After first claiming he had paid his gambling debts at Ohtani’s request, Mizuhara changed his story and claimed Ohtani had no knowledge of the gambling debts and did not transfer money to bookmakers. Mizuhara is under criminal investigation by the IRS for his alleged role in the scheme, and the MLB also announced its own investigation into the matter. 

Ohtani signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers in December after spending the first seven years of his career with the Los Angeles Angels. 

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“To summarize how I’m feeling right now, I’m just beyond shocked,” Ohtani said. “It’s really hard to verbalize how I’m feeling at this point.”

“I’m very saddened and shocked that someone who I trusted has done this,” Ohtani said.

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