Ippei Mizuhara officially charged with bank fraud after $16m transferrals

Mizuhara will appear in the Los Angeles United States District Court within the next few days.

bank fraud Ippei Mizuhara
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Ippei Mizuhara has been charged with bank fraud.

Mizuhara was the former translator and personal friend of Major Baseball League (MLB) star Shohei Ohtani.

An investigation was triggered when over $16m was found to be transferred from Ohtani’s account to an illegal bookmaking operation.

Mizuhara was fired almost immediately and is expected to appear in United States District Court by the end of next week.

The maximum sentence for this offence can run as high as 30 years in federal prison.

Martin Estrada, United States Attorney for the Central District of California, said: “I want to emphasise this point: Ohtani is considered a victim in this case.

“There is no evidence to indicate that Ohtani authorised the over $16m of transfers from his account to the bookmakers.”

Ohtani was part of a record-breaking deal in December 2023, when the Los Angeles Dodgers signed him on for $700m, almost double the previous record in the MLB.

He has also been voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice, with unanimous votes from both occasions, marking another record in MLB history.

A spokesperson for the MLB said: “We are aware of the charges filed by the US Attorney’s Office against Mizuhara for bank fraud after a thorough federal investigation.

“According to that investigation, Shohei Ohtani is considered a victim of fraud and there is no evidence that he authorised betting with an illegal bookmaker.

“Given the information disclosed today, and other information we have already collected, we will wait until resolution of the criminal proceeding to determine whether further investigation is warranted.”

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