Shohei Ohtani to Address Media Monday Afternoon

Shohei Ohtani made a brief appearance in the Dodgers’ clubhouse on Sunday ahead of their game against the Angels and stated that he’d face the press on Monday to address the accusations surrounding his former interpreter’s involvement in illicit gambling and theft.

The Dodgers parted ways with the interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, on Wednesday, following intense media scrutiny triggered by reports of substantial wire transfers totaling at least $4.5 million from Ohtani’s bank account to a bookmaking operation in Southern California that is currently under federal investigation.

Initially, Ohtani’s representatives asserted that the funds were transferred to settle Mizuhara’s debts and arranged for Mizuhara to speak with ESPN on Tuesday evening, where he provided a thorough account of the transaction process. However, the narrative shifted the next day when a statement from Berk Brettler LLP, Ohtani’s legal representation, stated that Ohtani “has fallen prey to a significant embezzlement scheme.” Mizuhara subsequently informed ESPN that Ohtani was unaware of his financial obligations and had not initiated the transfer of funds.

Roberts said it’s “good” that Ohtani will address the matter Monday afternoon.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Roberts added. “I’m happy he’s going to speak and speak to what he knows and give his thoughts on the whole situation. I think it’ll give us all a little bit more clarity.”

Ohtani remains free of accusations related to gambling, and none of the wagers are suspected to involve baseball — a circumstance that could result in a permanent expulsion from the sport. Nevertheless, California is among twelve states where sports betting remains outlawed. The implicated bookmaker, Mathew Bowyer, a resident of Orange County, had his residence raided in October as part of an inquiry conducted by the same U.S. attorney’s office overseeing a sprawling federal investigation into money laundering and illicit gambling in Las Vegas — which also ensnared former minor league baseball player Wayne Nix.

On Friday afternoon, Major League Baseball disclosed that its investigative department is officially delving into the matter. Despite this, Ohtani is anticipated to continue playing while the investigation progresses. Penalties for players engaging in non-baseball wagering with illegal bookmakers are at the discretion of the commissioner.