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Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani speaks out on Monday about former interpreter’s gambling allegations

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Shohei Ohtani will speak to reporters about how former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara allegedly stole $4.5 million from him on Monday to pay off his gambling debts.

The Los Angeles Dodgers superstar told reporters Sunday before the team’s exhibition game against the Los Angeles Angels, his former squad, that he would address the situation on Monday. The Dodgers later confirmed to the Times that this was the plan.

Ohtani is embroiled in the league’s biggest scandal ahead of Opening Day later this week when his lawyers redacted Mizuhara’s initial statement to ESPN in which he said Ohtani was covering the debt as a friend, and instead the two-way star as a victim described it as a “massive theft”.

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Ohtani and interpreter at the conference

Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara of the Los Angeles Dodgers look on during the Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Dodgers press conference at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, December 14, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. (Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Ohtani’s manager Dave Roberts agrees with the decision to speak on the matter.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Roberts said, via The Times. “I am pleased that he is coming forward with what he knows and giving his thoughts on the entire situation. I think that will give us a little more clarity.”

There are many questions Ohtani needs to answer on this topic – how did he not notice that $4.5 million was stolen until now? – and there is speculation that needs to be debunked, including the opinion that he was somehow involved in the situation.

SHOHEI OHTANI’S EX-INTERPRETER’S PAST IS CALLED INTO QUESTION AS RED SOX AND UNIVERSITY REFUTE CONNECTION: REPORTS

The reason for the speculation stems from one of Ohtani’s reps staged a Mizuhara interview with ESPN last Tuesday in which he spoke for 90 minutes about the situation and claimed that Ohtani was knowingly paying off his debts for him. Ohtani’s spokesman initially confirmed that this was the case, but then recanted both him and Mizuhara, saying that Ohtani was instead a victim.

Mizuhara admitted in the interview that he had bet on international soccer, the NBA and the NFL, although he had never bet on MLB games.

Ohtani with interpreter

Shohei Ohtani (right) of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks with the help of his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during DodgerFest, a celebration of the upcoming season featuring live entertainment, behind-the-scenes experiences, food, drinks and meet-and-greets with the newest Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 3, 2024. (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

Mizuhara is shrouded in mystery as several media outlets have delved deep into his past and found discrepancies, including his Angels biography (he worked with Ohtani on the team from 2018 to 2023), which states that he graduated from the University of California in 2007. Riverside visited and worked with Boston Red Sox as an interpreter for Hideki Okajima in 2010.

UC Riverside told The Athletic that there was no record of him in its system, and the Red Sox released a statement to multiple media outlets saying Mizuhara never worked for them as Okajima’s interpreter.

The Dodgers issued a statement following the report of the matter, saying they were “gathering information” and confirming that Mizuhara no longer works for the team.

Ohtani will remain on the Dodgers’ roster through Opening Day while MLB and the IRS investigate the matter.

Shohei Ohtani looks at the field

Shohei Ohtani, #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers, at bat in the 7th inning 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. (Masterpress/Getty Images)

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The Dodgers’ 2024 season is scheduled to begin Thursday at home against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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