Q&A: What's next for Shohei Ohtani and MLB after charges against Ippei Mizuhara?

Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

In reviewing some 9,700 pages of text messages between Ohtani and Mizuhara between 2020 and 2024, Seymour said a federal agent fluent in Japanese found “no discussion of sports betting” between Ohtani and Mizuhara.

Seymour also said he did not find it credible Ohtani would have been aware of Mizuhara’s gambling given that Mizuhara “falsely represented himself” as Ohtani on multiple occasions to gain access to a private Ohtani bank account, and given that Mizuhara paid off his debts from that account while depositing his winnings into an account of his own.

A private Ohtani bank account? What is that?

According to the complaint, Mizuhara was “the only signatory” on one of Ohtani’s bank accounts, which was the one used to funnel money to the bookmaker.

The complaint describes Mizuhara as Ohtani’s “de facto manager.”

When Ohtani’s agent asked about the account, Mizuhara said the account was “private” and Ohtani “did not want anyone else to monitor that account.” The agent told investigators he never confirmed that with Ohtani.

The agent also told a bookkeeper and financial adviser working on Ohtani’s behalf that they could not access the account because Ohtani wanted it to remain “private,” according to the complaint.


Was Ohtani ever in any danger?

On Nov. 17, 2023, the bookmaker messaged Mizuhara, concerned that he was not paying up.

“I don’t know why you’re not returning my calls,” the message said, according to the complaint.

“I’m here in Newport Beach and I see (Ohtani) walking his dog. I’m just gonna go up and talk to him and ask how I can get in touch with you since you’re not responding. Please call me back immediately.”

There is no evidence in the complaint that the bookmaker made contact directly with Ohtani.

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