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MLB Scrutinizes Shohei Ohtani's Connection to Gambling Scandal

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Major League Baseball (MLB) has launched an investigation into a sports betting scandal involving Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani. The announcement came two days after news broke out that the Dodgers had fired Ohtani's long-standing interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, over a significant embezzlement of funds.

Mizuhara was alleged to have made at least $4.5m in suspicious wire transfers from the pitcher's bank and in his name to a California bookmaker, Matthew Boyer, who is reportedly under federal investigation.

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In an interview with ESPN on Tuesday, Mizuhara stated that he had never placed bets on baseball but admitted to betting on other sports. However, ESPN reported that Mizuhara later denied making the wire transfers and asserted that Ohtani was unaware of his actions.

In its official announcement, MLB confirmed that its Department of Investigations has begun its formal process of investigating the allegations.

MLB's Department of Investigations was originally established in 2008 to tackle issues related to performance-enhancing drugs following recommendations from the Mitchell Report on the illicit use of steroids. The department has since expanded its scope to include investigations into gambling and other criminal activities within baseball.

MLB Betting Policy

MLB bans players, managers, and other individuals involved in the game from betting on baseball. Engaging in such betting activities can result in a one-year suspension. The penalty is elevated to a lifetime ban if the bet involves games where the individual is directly involved.

As such, the allegations could hold grave consequences for Ohtani if he is found to be aware of or involved in his former interpreter's betting activities. The situation is further complicated because California, where the incident occurred, is one of the 12 states in which the US gambling industry has not expanded yet and is legal.

Meanwhile, Ohtani appears to have distanced himself further from Mizuhara by deleting the former friend and interpreter's posts from his Instagram profile.

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