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#pounditTuesday, May 21, 2024

Ippei Mizuhara made telling admission in text message to bookie

Shohei Ohtani next to Ippei Mizuhara

Dec 14, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers player Shohei Ohtani stands with his agent Nez Balelo (left) and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara at an introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A federal complaint that was filed on Thursday against Ippei Mizuhara included numerous troubling text messages that the former interpreter sent, and at least one of them appeared to be an admission of guilt.

Mizuhara is accused of stealing more than $16 million from Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani over a two-year period and transferring the money to an illegal bookmaker. The 37-page federal complaint against Mizuhara includes text messages between Mizuhara and his bookie. In one exchange last month, Mizuhara asked the bookie if the bookie had seen the news stories about Mizuhara stealing money from Ohtani. The bookmaker called Ohtani’s allegation a “cover job,” and Mizuhara had a very telling response.

“Yes, but that’s all bulls—,” the bookie wrote to Mizuhara (edited by LBS for profanity). “Obviously you didn’t steal from him. I understand it’s a cover job I totally get it.”

Mizuhara then seemed to admit he was guilty.

“Technically I did steal from him. it’s all over for me,” Mizuhara replied.

Based on that exchange, it seems like the bookmaker was under the impression that Ohtani was knowingly helping Mizuhara pay off Ippei’s gambling debts. That is what Mizuhara initially claimed in an interview with ESPN. The 39-year-old said he asked Ohtani to help him pay off his gambling debt and that Ohtani decided to “help me out to make sure I never do this again.” A spokesperson for Ohtani also said Ohtani transferred money to the bookie to help out his friend.

Mizuhara then completely changed his story a day later and said Ohtani had no knowledge of the gambling debt. Ohtani’s attorneys issued a statement claiming the Dodgers star was the victim of a “massive theft.”

Authorities have outlined how Mizuhara went to great lengths to access Ohtani’s bank accounts and steal money. With the bookmaker initially calling the theft story a “cover up,” it stands to reason that the bookie was led to believe Ohtani was voluntarily giving Mizuhara money.

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