MLB announced Friday that it has opened an investigation into the Shohei Ohtani interpreter scandal that rocked baseball this week.

The story broke Wednesday, when Ohtani’s attorney released a statement accusing his longtime interpreter and friend, Ippei Mizuhara, of “massive theft.” A subsequent ESPN report revealed that Ohtani’s camp had told the outlet that the Los Angeles Dodgers superstar had agreed to pay off $4.5 million in gambling debts for Mizuhara, only for that camp to disavow Mizuhara on Wednesday.

MLB opens investigation into gambling allegations involving Ohtani  interpreter | MLB | The Guardian

Mizuhara gave a 90-minute interview to ESPN detailing how Ohtani supposedly paid off the gambling debt via wire transfer, which is a federal crime as well as a potential violation of MLB rules. He recanted that story Wednesday, insisting that Ohtani had no knowledge of his gambling.

The Dodgers quickly fired Mizuhara, who was working for the team during their series in South Korea as the story broke.



The full statement from MLB, which misspelled Mizuhara’s surname and was released at 5:56 p.m. ET during the first round of March Madness:

“Major League Baseball has been gathering information since we learned about the allegations involving Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhari (sic) from the news media. Earlier today, our Department of Investigations (DOI) began their formal process investigating the matter.”

MLB launches investigation into Shohei Ohtani, interpreter

No mention was made of sidelining Ohtani, who made his Dodgers debut earlier this week and is set to play in the team’s stateside opener on Thursday in Los Angeles.

MLB investigators will be tasked with sorting out a scandal that has seen multiple stories and conflicting narratives swirl around the new face of the league, who signed a $700 million contract with the Dodgers last offseason after winning his second career AL MVP award.



MLB Opens Investigation Into Shohei Ohtani and Longtime Interpreter - WSJ

 

The IRS has also announced that it is investigating Mizuhara and Mathew Bowyer, the allegedly illegal bookmaker to whom Mizuhara was reportedly indebted.

Ohtani’s camp reportedly requested that authorities investigate Mizuhara, but ESPN reported earlier Friday that neither the California Bureau of Investigation nor the FBI is currently working on the case, nor are law enforcement in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California reportedly declined comment.