News On Japan

NYT: Ohtani refused ex-interpreter's request to go along with his story

LOS ANGELES, Apr 15 (NHK) - The New York Times says Los Angeles Dodgers player Ohtani Shohei refused his former interpreter's request to go along with a story that the Major League Baseball star paid his interpreter's gambling debts to a bookmaker.

Mizuhara Ippei was charged with illegally transferring more than 16 million dollars from Ohtani's bank account without his knowledge or permission. He was released on bail on Friday after a first court appearance.

The US newspaper reported on Saturday that Ohtani and Mizuhara talked face-to-face late at night after the season's opener on March 20 in Seoul. The conversation took place in a conference room in the basement of the hotel where their team was staying.

The paper says, "Mizuhara made one last effort to protect himself from the law" and "asked his patron to go along with the story" that Ohtani had paid Mizuhara's debts to a bookmaker.

But the paper said Ohtani refused and called his agent, Nez Balelo, into the conference room. Balelo reportedly had several other people dial in to manage the crisis, including a lawyer in Los Angeles, a crisis communications executive in New York, and a new interpreter. The paper said Mizuhara's wife was also present.

The NYT said the Los Angeles Dodgers promptly fired Mizuhara after the meeting at the hotel, and the ex-interpreter flew back to Los Angeles.

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