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Shohei Ohtani Interpreter Now Under IRS Investigation, As Discrepancies In His Background Story Are Uncovered

The Internal Revenue Service has confirmed that alleged bookmaker Mathew Bowyer and former Shohei Ohtani translator Ippei Mizuhara are now being criminally investigated, according to the Associated Press.

The news comes as media organizations are uncovering discrepancies in Mizuhara’s background claims. These are important because his story on why money was transferred from Ohtani’s accounts to alleged bookmaker Bowyer changed after news broke, thus creating doubts on his veracity.

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As the story stands now, $4.5 million was transferred from Ohtani’s accounts to Bowyer. Mizuhara originally said Ohtani was helping him cover his gambling debts out of friendship. That story, which emerged in an interview with ESPN, was later retracted. Now, Ohtani’s lawyers claim the money was stolen without Ohtani’s knowledge in a “massive theft.”

Mizuhara worked with the Los Angeles Angels as Ohtani’s interpreter from 2018-23. His biography there claimed that he graduated from the University of California-Riverside in 2007.

But NBC Los Angeles reports there is no corroborating record in the university database.

“Our university records do not show a student by the name of Ippei Mizuhara having attended UC Riverside,” a spokesman told The Athletic.

Claims that Mizuhara once served as the interpreter for former pitcher Hideki Okajima are also being dismissed.

Multiple news reports cite that Mizuhara worked with Okajima for the Red Sox in 2010. The Red Sox dispute that claim.

“We are reaching out to all of you because of reports in various outlets stating that Ippei Mizuhara worked for the Red Sox as an interpreter, which is incorrect,” the Red Sox said in a statement released to multiple media members, per The Athletic.

“Mizuhara was never employed by the Boston Red Sox in any capacity and was not an interpreter for Hideki Okajima during the pitcher’s time with the team. Please know that we have thoroughly checked our files to ensure we are providing accurate information.”

Mizuhara’s biography also claims that he served as Okajima’s interpreter with the Yankees during spring training in 2012. But Okajima was released by the Yankees on Feb. 17, 2012, before the official start of spring training.

Earlier this week, MLB said it is investigating the situation. So far, no one has been charged with a crime.

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