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Los Angeles Dodgers Fire Shohei Ohtani's Interpreter After Gambling, Theft Allegations

Shohei Ohtani's longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, was let go by the Los Angeles Dodgers after millions of dollars of superstar's money was used to cover gambling debt.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have fired interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, the team confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

Mizuhara had been working with Shohei Ohtani ever since the two-way Japanese superstar joined MLB in 2017. When Ohtani left the Los Angeles Angels in favor of a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers, Mizuhara went along with him.

Ohtani's attorneys, however, are now accusing Mizuhara of stealing millions of dollars from the two-time MVP. Mizuhara supposedly used that money to place bets with an illegal bookmaker, according to the recent findings of a federal investigation.

The Los Angeles Times was the first to note that Ohtani had been mentioned during that investigation, which centered around Southern California resident Mathew Bowyer. From there, Ohtani's representatives looked deeper into Mizuhara's actions and discovered that their client was "the victim of a massive theft."

According to ESPN, over $4.5 million was wired from Ohtani's bank accounts to cover Mizuhara's gambling debts. Mizuhara and other sources told ESPN that Ohtani does not gamble.

Mizuhara, 39, was translating for Ohtani as recently as Wednesday's regular season opener against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea. He reportedly addressed the team after the game, warning them that a story was about to come out and that he and his gambling addiction were at fault.

Ohtani's law firm, Berk Brettler, said it is turning the matter over to the authorities.

Neither Mizuhara or Bowyer have been charged with a crime yet.

Mizuhara, who was born in Japan but moved to Los Angeles when he was 7 years old, got his first MLB interpreter gig in 2010 with the Boston Red Sox, who had reliever Hideki Okajima on their roster. Mizuhara would later join the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters back in Japan in 2013, tasked with translating for the Americans on the team.

Ohtani joined the Nippon-Ham Fighters that same year, beginning a decade-long relationship between he and Mizuhara.

In his MLB career, Ohtani's salaries have added up to $42.3 million. He is set to make $2 million a year for the next 10 years, then receive $68 million in deferred money every year from 2034 to 2043.

Ohtani was expected to make $65 million in endorsements in 2024, per Sportico, dwarfing the figure of every other baseball player in the world.

Mizuhara, meanwhile, was making between $300K and $500K a year.

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