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Ohtani: Ex-interpreter Mizuhara stole my money, 'told lies'

Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani addressed gambling allegations involving his former interpreter Monday, claiming Ippei Mizuhara stole money from him and lied.

"I never bet on baseball, or any other sports. I never have asked anybody to do that on my behalf. I never went through a bookmaker to bet on sports," Ohtani said at a press conference, according to J.P. Hoornstra of Dodger Nation.

"Just to go over the result, in conclusion, Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies," Ohtani added through an interpreter.

Monday was the first time the 29-year-old spoke publicly since Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers after being accused of stealing money from Ohtani to place bets with Mathew Bowyer, a bookmaker who was under investigation by the federal government.

The Dodgers star, who signed a record 10-year, $700-million contract in December, said he had no idea what was happening until a couple of days ago while his team was playing the San Diego Padres in South Korea.

"Last weekend in Korea, media reached out ... inquiring about my potential involvement in sports betting. Ippei never revealed to me that there was this media inquiry," Ohtani said.

A Dodgers spokesperson originally told ESPN's Tisha Thompson the two-time MVP sent wire transfers to the bookmaker to cover gambling debts accrued by Mizuhara in the range of $4.5 million. Ohtani's lawyers later refuted what the spokesperson said, alleging Mizuhara committed "massive theft."

Mizuhara later said Ohtani was unaware of his debts and did not transfer any money to cover them.

"Obviously, this is all my fault, everything I've done," he said. "I'm ready to face all the consequences."

Ohtani said he was "saddened and shocked that someone who (he) trusted has done this," according to Hoornstra.

He added that his lawyers will handle all matters from here on out, and he'll be "completely assisting" with all investigations, according to The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya.

Major League Baseball is looking into the matter, and the Internal Revenue Service also confirmed that Mizuhara and Bowyer are under criminal investigation.

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