Former Federal Prosecutor Suggests Money Laundering Potential in Ohtani Translator’s Gambling Scandal

A former federal prosecutor has raised concerns about potential money laundering in the illegal gambling scandal involving Shohei Ohtani’s former translator, Ippei Mizuhara. The allegations could escalate if it is revealed that Ohtani approved wire transfers to cover Mizuhara’s reported $4.5 million debt. Ohtani’s camp initially confirmed the fund transfers but later disavowed Mizuhara’s claims, asserting that Ohtani was a victim of “massive theft.” The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is currently investigating the alleged illegal activities.

Joshua A. Naftalis, a former federal prosecutor who worked on the NBA’s case against Tim Donaghy for point shaving, highlighted the significance of the conflicting narratives in this case. Naftalis emphasized that the distinction between theft and covering the funds is crucial. ESPN reported that at least $4.5 million in wire transfers were sent from Ohtani’s bank account to an associate of Matthew Bowyer, described as a southern California bookmaker. It is worth noting that gambling is illegal in California.

Lawyers representing Ohtani have accused Mizuhara, his former interpreter and longtime friend, of “massive theft” in this $4.5 million bombshell. Mizuhara, who followed Ohtani from the Angels to the Los Angeles Dodgers after his recent $700 million deal, allegedly accumulated substantial gambling debts that needed to be paid off. Initially, Mizuhara claimed that Ohtani had offered to settle the debt, but he later changed his story, asserting that Ohtani was unaware of the wire transfers made to an alleged illegal bookmaker. Ohtani’s camp has disavowed Mizuhara’s initial account.

As of now, neither Ohtani nor Mizuhara has been charged with a crime. However, an IRS probe is underway, and Ohtani’s camp is pushing for a law enforcement investigation. Mizuhara has denied betting on baseball and expressed regret for his actions, stating that he was unaware of the illegality of his actions.

The conflicting versions of events have raised questions about the accuracy of the information provided. Naftalis has highlighted the potential legal implications, particularly regarding money laundering, which is a federal crime. The significant amount of money involved and the possibility of Ohtani using his translator as a front further complicate the situation.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. Did you know that money laundering is estimated to account for 2-5% of global GDP, which amounts to around $800 billion to $2 trillion annually? It is a significant issue that affects various industries, including illegal gambling.

  2. Do you think the involvement of a former federal prosecutor in the illegal gambling scandal surrounding Shohei Ohtani’s former translator raises broader questions about the prevalence of money laundering in professional sports?

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