Baseball-Ohtani denies wrongdoing in gambling scandal involving former interpreter

By Thomson Reuters Mar 25, 2024 | 5:30 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani said on Monday he was the victim of theft by his former interpreter and that he had never bet on baseball or knowingly paid a bookmaker in his first public remarks since the gambling scandal broke last week.

“I am very saddened and shocked that someone who I trusted has done this,” Ohtani told reporters at a press conference at Dodger Stadium about his long-time interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

“I do want to make it clear that I never bet on sports or have willfully sent money to the bookmaker,” he added later in the press conference.

“To summarize how I’m feeling right now – I’m beyond shocked, it’s really hard to verbalize how I’m feeling at this point.”

Ohtani’s statement was the Japanese ballplayer’s first remarks since the allegations of “massive theft” against Mizuhara surfaced, leading to his firing by the team.

Reuters has been unable to reach Mizuhara for comment.

Ohtani joined the Dodgers last December after signing a $700 million, 10-year contact that brought an end to a high-profile chase for one of the most coveted MLB free agents in recent memory.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Ferris)