Shohei Ohtani issuing a statement on the recent gambling fraud controversy involving his former translator Photo Credit: ESPN

Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani should be concerned about the start of the MLB regular season. But instead, he addressed a recent gambling controversy that has arisen regarding to former interpreter Ippei Mizhuara.

Last week reports emerged about Ohtani firing Mizhuara after he had allegedly stolen $4.5 million in wire transfers, which he allegedly used to place sports bets with an illegal bookmaker that was under federal investigation.

Mizhuara later confirmed this story, saying that his former client, Ohtani, never participated in any form of sports gambling and that he  “will never do sports betting ever again”.

While the general consensus from most is that Mizhuara did likely act on his own accord, there is still an investigation ongoing into the matter.

This obviously raises an important speculatory question. Did Mizhuara potentially place the bets for Ohtani and then ultimately take the fall for him?

All early indications are that this seems unlikely. But it is at least worth looking into. And this led to Ohtani issuing a public statement on Monday, reaffirming his innocence in this investigation.

“So I have never bet on baseball or any other sport, or never have ever asked anybody to do that on my behalf,” said Ohtani via his new interpreter in a press conference. “And I have never went through a bookmaker to bet on sports. Up until a couple of days ago, I didn’t know that this was happening. In conclusion, Ippei (Mizuhara) has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.”

Notably, Ohtani did not answer any questions from reporters during his press conference. So it was essentially just a public statement on the ongoing investigation.

There will surely be more information to emerge on the matter. But now that Ohtani has publically affirmed his innocence in this case, hopefully he can solely focus on baseball for the foreseeable future.

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About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.