Shohei Ohtani's reps decline to say which authorities contacted to report theft

ByTisha Thompson and Paula Lavigne ESPN logo
Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Los Angeles Dodgers superstarShohei Ohtani's representatives declined again Tuesday to answer ESPN's questions about which authorities they have contacted to report their allegation of theft against Ohtani's former interpreter.

ESPN has been asking repeatedly for the information since Ohtani's lawyers first issued a statementlast weekalleging that "Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft, and we are turning the matter over to the authorities."

When asked Tuesday to provide proof that Ohtani or his representatives have reported the theft to an investigating agency, a spokesperson for Ohtani declined to comment.

ESPN received no confirmation from any of the likely local, state or federal agencies that could investigate allegations of theft that they received a report from Ohtani's camp.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday that it is working with the IRS to investigate Ohtani's ex-interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, but would not specify whether it was looking into Ohtani's theft allegation or if it had been contacted by Ohtani's representatives.

"Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles and IRS Criminal Investigation Los Angeles Field Office are conducting a joint federal investigation into the matter," a spokesperson told ESPN in a statement, noting he was referring to the "overall investigation including Mizuhara's role." He wrote that the agency could not comment further on the ongoing investigation.

ESPN previously confirmed with IRS spokesperson Scott Villiard that the agency is investigating Mizuhara and bookmaker Mathew Bowyer, but Villiard declined to say whether the IRS had been contacted by Ohtani's representatives.

The Department of Homeland Security, the IRS and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California have been investigating Bowyer since at least October, according to multiple sources and documents reviewed by ESPN. The same agencies are also involved in a sprawling federal money laundering and illegal gambling case that drew in former minor league baseball player and bookmaker Wayne Nix and former MLB All-Star Yasiel Puig.

It is unclear whether the agencies' investigation into Mizuhara is part of the wider probe, or how Ohtani's theft allegation fits in, if at all.

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