Baseball star Ohtani’s ex-interpreter agrees to plead guilty to federal charges

By Thomson Reuters May 8, 2024 | 3:38 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -Japanese baseball great Shohei Ohtani’s former interpreter has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges he illegally transferred nearly $17 million from the athlete’s bank account, without Ohtani’s knowledge, to pay off his own gambling debts.

The plea agreement reached between federal prosecutors and Ohtani’s onetime confidante, Ippei Mizuhara, was announced on Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, where the interpreter was charged in a criminal complaint last month.

Mizuhara was accused of engaging in bank fraud by embezzling nearly $17 million from an account of Ohtani’s that Mizuhara had helped set up, and wiring the funds without Ohtani’s knowledge to an illegal sports gambling operation.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles)