Shohei Ohtani's Ex-Interpreter Pleads Guilty to Bank, Tax Fraud

Shohei Ohtani's Ex-Interpreter Pleads Guilty to Bank, Tax Fraud
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The Facts

  • US federal prosecutors have said Ippei Mizuhara — former interpreter for Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher Shohei Ohtani — has agreed to plead guilty to fraud charges related to an alleged sports betting scandal that robbed Ohtani of nearly $17M.

  • A US Attorney’s Office in California said Wednesday that Mizuhara will enter a plea deal in the "coming weeks" for one count of bank fraud and one count of falsifying a tax return. His arraignment is scheduled for May 14.

The Spin

Narrative A

All things considered, Mizuhara’s plea deal is a positive development for Ohtani that will hopefully put this scandal to rest. By all accounts, Ohtani is a victim who was exploited by his interpreter and robbed of millions, and he deserves swift justice. In addition to compensating Ohtani for his losses, this plea deal will mark the end of this unfortunate saga and allow the best player in baseball to focus all his attention on the field.

Narrative B

Everything has been suspiciously quiet around Shohei Ohtani, likely due to his status as one of the MLB's most profitable players. While it appears Ohtani is a victim here, the MLB seems to be applying a different standard to Ohtani’s case than it does to other events. While players like Trevor Bauer and Pete Rose were excommunicated without committing any crimes, Shohei Ohtani’s investigation ended quickly and without any substantive comment from the league.

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