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Ohtani Denies Sports Betting in Translator Case

MLB superstar Shohei Ohtani defended himself and cleared the air in a press conference this week, denying any involvement in the massive amounts of money his translator Ippei Mizuhara bet with an illegal bookie. Ohtani told reporters that he had no idea Mizuhara was stealing millions from him until just a week ago, when the scandal emerged.

While the idea that someone could steal $4.5 million from your accounts without your knowledge seems ludicrous to the layman, it’s much more probable when you’re in Ohtani’s world. The multi-faceted pitcher recently signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Dodgers that is one of the richest in sports history.

At the press conference, reported on by, Ohtani stressed the fact that he was actually the victim of a crime, and that he did not wager on baseball or any other sport. “I never bet on baseball or any other sports or never have asked somebody to do it on my behalf and I have never gone through a bookmaker to bet on sports,” he said.

Mizuhara, who was also a close friend of Ohtani’s, has acknowledged his role in skimming $4.5 million from the ballplayer’s accounts, but also denies betting on baseball. “I never bet on baseball … That’s 100 percent. I knew that rule. … We have a meeting about that in spring training,” he told recently.

While it seems that Ohtani is the clear victim in this situation, and Mizuhara did not use regulated sportsbooks, the whole story has put sports betting in an uncomfortable spotlight. Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) took advantage of the scandal to pitch more regulation for sports betting operators. “This situation clearly demonstrates the impact and harm that gambling addiction can inflict,” said Rep. Paul Tonko. “The widespread legalization and promotion of sports gambling will only make this type of incident more common moving forward. We have an obligation to address the predatory practices of this industry and protect consumers.”

MLB and the IRS are both investigating the scandal.