Home NewsRegulations & Licenses Lawyers for baseball star Ohtani: An interpreter was involved in illegal sports betting

Lawyers for baseball star Ohtani: An interpreter was involved in illegal sports betting

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The Los Angeles Times reports that lawyers representing baseball star Shohei Ahtani accuse the interpreter’s of the player of taking money from him and betting with an “allegedly illegal bookmaker” who is under federal investigation.

The Los Angeles Times published a story on 20 March claiming that the lawyers of baseball star Ohtani accuse Ippei Mzuhara, the interpreter for the ballplayer, of “massive stealing” in connection with illegal sports gambling.

The Times reported that Ohtani was only discovered as a result of an investigation of Michael Bowyer, when Ohtani’s name came up.

Millions of dollars are involved in the investigation into illegal sports betting

The newspaper reported that two sources said “millions” of dollars were at stake. Bowyer’s Orange County home in California was “raised” by federal agents. The Times found that Ohtani was named in an investigation into illegal sports gambling conducted at Bowyer’s home last year.

ESPN reported that $4.5m from Ohtani was transferred to an unlicensed bookmaker account. Ohtani’s spokesman told ESPN that the transfers were made to pay off the gambling debts of the interpreter, but then said Ohtani had been the victim a “massive fraud”.

Bowyer’s attorney told The Times that her client had never been in contact with Ohtani, even though she hasn’t been accused of a crime.

Bowyer’s investigation may have been part of a larger probe into a bookmaking ring that was based out of Orange County, and involved former Minor League Baseball player Wayne Nix.

Yasiel, the ex-Los Angeles Dodger was also charged with illegal betting. He has however pleaded guilty. The Times was told by two sources that Ippei Mzuhara, an interpreter for Boyer, had placed bets. There is no information on what Mizuhara bet on, the amount he wagered, when he did so, or how frequently.

Pro sports are now flooded with illegal sports bets

Ohtani, who is in Korea to play a series in Seoul against the San Diego Padres for his season opener, has just arrived. In the off-season, he signed the most lucrative contract in baseball, a $700m, 10-year deal, with the Dodgers, after spending six seasons playing for the Los Angeles Angels. A spokesman for the Dodgers told The Times that Mizuhara was fired.

California prohibits sports betting and it violates Major League Baseball rules. MLB employees, players and officials are prohibited from placing bets on legal baseball games or illegal sporting events.

Illegal sports betting is now a part of pro sports since the US Supreme Court made it a state rights issue in 2018. 35+ US jurisdictions offer sports betting.

The NFL and NHL both suspended players for betting illegally last year. A former Jacksonville Jaguars’ employee is accused in December 2023 of embezzling over $22m to fund a gambling addiction.

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