Shohei Ohtani’s attorneys accuse interpreter of ‘massive theft’ tied to alleged gambling

BaseballJones

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No, it is not. Why is a public company with binding legal agreements with its customers engaging unnecessarily in criminal activity? Besides “hey it could happen!”
You're asking me if legal entities with millions/billions of dollars at stake would do illegal things to make sure they get their money?

This is a serious question? (I'm not trying to be a jerk or snarky...I just find it unfathomable that this would be a real question. The federal government does shady stuff all the time - and they ARE law enforcement.)

I just don't put a lot of trust in the gambling industry - legal or not. YMMV though.
 

Jace II

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You're asking me if legal entities with millions/billions of dollars at stake would do illegal things to make sure they get their money?

This is a serious question? (I'm not trying to be a jerk or snarky...I just find it unfathomable that this would be a real question. The federal government does shady stuff all the time - and they ARE law enforcement.)

I just don't put a lot of trust in the gambling industry - legal or not. YMMV though.
To me, this is besides the point. You're speculating about legitimate businesses committing crimes without any actual evidence. Perhaps they do commit them. What is not speculation is that illegal bookmakers are by definition committing crimes just by operating. And thus their enforcement mechanisms are certainly extra-legal.

Nobody is required to do business with a legit bookmaker. They ARE however, required NOT to do business with illegal ones.
 

BaseballJones

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To me, this is besides the point. You're speculating about legitimate businesses committing crimes without any actual evidence. Perhaps they do commit them. What is not speculation is that illegal bookmakers are by definition committing crimes just by operating. And thus their enforcement mechanisms are certainly extra-legal.

Nobody is required to do business with a legit bookmaker. They ARE however, required NOT to do business with illegal ones.
I don't disagree with any of this. I'm not saying legitimate books ARE committing crimes. I was just saying that I wouldn't at all put it past them coming up with, uh, creative ways to get the money they're owed.

Does anyone here really think that big business is always on the up-and-up? Or do we think big business does shady/illegal stuff in order to advance their financial interests? I dunno....maybe I'm just cynical.

This is, of course, a much broader question than the topic of this thread. I thought my initial response to trekfan55 was pretty benign and non-controversial and didn't really warrant this much side discussion. I guess I underestimated SOSH once again.
 

Jace II

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I don't disagree with any of this. I'm not saying legitimate books ARE committing crimes. I was just saying that I wouldn't at all put it past them coming up with, uh, creative ways to get the money they're owed.

Does anyone here really think that big business is always on the up-and-up? Or do we think big business does shady/illegal stuff in order to advance their financial interests? I dunno....maybe I'm just cynical.

This is, of course, a much broader question than the topic of this thread. I thought my initial response to trekfan55 was pretty benign and non-controversial and didn't really warrant this much side discussion. I guess I underestimated SOSH once again.
I assume some big businesses commit crimes and others do not. Most probably do not do it as part of their standard operating procedure, more as individual opportunistic actions or lazy shortcuts. The betting industry may be more susceptible than most to illegal activity, but being a bookmaker is not evidence in and of itself that crimes are occurring.

The point i thought you were making (and maybe I'm wrong here) was that placing bets with illegal bookmakers is ultimately not that different than placing them with legal ones. And thus maybe that Ohtani or his translator don't bear that much responsibility. Which I disagree with.
 

Oil Can Dan

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I don't disagree with any of this. I'm not saying legitimate books ARE committing crimes. I was just saying that I wouldn't at all put it past them coming up with, uh, creative ways to get the money they're owed.

Does anyone here really think that big business is always on the up-and-up? Or do we think big business does shady/illegal stuff in order to advance their financial interests? I dunno....maybe I'm just cynical.

This is, of course, a much broader question than the topic of this thread. I thought my initial response to trekfan55 was pretty benign and non-controversial and didn't really warrant this much side discussion. I guess I underestimated SOSH once again.
You keep talking about legitimate gambling establishments collecting money they're owed, but that's the big difference between legal and illegal gambling establishments - legal ones demand the money to be gambled in advance. So, you're not going to find yourself in some big hole with Draftkings. So nobody is going to lean on someone to collect their debts because their debts will have already been paid.

It's a big difference and one that sort of negates your concern, IMO.
 

BaseballJones

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You keep talking about legitimate gambling establishments collecting money they're owed, but that's the big difference between legal and illegal gambling establishments - legal ones demand the money to be gambled in advance. So, you're not going to find yourself in some big hole with Draftkings. So nobody is going to lean on someone to collect their debts because their debts will have already been paid.

It's a big difference and one that sort of negates your concern, IMO.
It's not really a concern. I'm not really making an argument. I was just skeptical of the idea that because a big business is legal, that it kind of automatically wouldn't do shady/illegal things to further their financial interests. I just don't buy it, even if it has, ultimately, nothing to do with the Ohtani situation. Color me skeptical and cynical of big business and big government always doing the ethical and legal thing.
 

YTF

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Of course they’ve adopted it. It’s legal and they’re a for-profit corporation. MLB didn’t pass gambling laws in either direction, governments did. “Don’t do crime” is a super fair thing to ask.
I don't disagree with what's written here. My point is a simple one. MLB and the other major sports leagues spent a considerable amount of time, effort and money to fight the legalization of sports betting. They weren't successful so they made a conscious decision to welcome and embrace what they said would be detrimental to their sports. Money matters and I fully understand the business aspect of this, but IMO they've earned the Scarlett H. that they will wear no matter what stance they take here.
 

uncannymanny

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You're asking me if legal entities with millions/billions of dollars at stake would do illegal things to make sure they get their money?

This is a serious question? (I'm not trying to be a jerk or snarky...I just find it unfathomable that this would be a real question. The federal government does shady stuff all the time - and they ARE law enforcement.)

I just don't put a lot of trust in the gambling industry - legal or not. YMMV though.
So, “hey it could happen!”.
 

trekfan55

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I don't disagree with what's written here. My point is a simple one. MLB and the other major sports leagues spent a considerable amount of time, effort and money to fight the legalization of sports betting. They weren't successful so they made a conscious decision to welcome and embrace what they said would be detrimental to their sports. Money matters and I fully understand the business aspect of this, but IMO they've earned the Scarlett H. that they will wear no matter what stance they take here.
I tend to agree with this. Let the advertising dollars flow and let the companies promote their "product" as they wish. But having MLB promote the play of the day with Fanduel really hurts my brain.
 

uncannymanny

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I don't disagree with what's written here. My point is a simple one. MLB and the other major sports leagues spent a considerable amount of time, effort and money to fight the legalization of sports betting. They weren't successful so they made a conscious decision to welcome and embrace what they said would be detrimental to their sports. Money matters and I fully understand the business aspect of this, but IMO they've earned the Scarlett H. that they will wear no matter what stance they take here.
We absolutely don’t disagree here. It’s a gross and simply opportunistic about face.

I don’t consider that a reason for them not to be concerned about their highest paid player being in bed with a criminal racket.

Edit 2: mildly humorous to watch them lie in the bed they’ve made for sure
 

Seels

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I don't know what's worse for the sport: If there is serious smoke behind Ohtani actually being involved (and to me, there seems to be) and the MLB does nothing, as they did with the Astros, or if he actually did something and he faces real repercussions.

Gambling is a fucking blight and sports endorsing it openly has made it harder to enjoy.
 

YTF

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We absolutely don’t disagree here. It’s a gross and simply opportunistic about face.

I don’t consider that a reason for them not to be concerned about their highest paid player being in bed with a criminal racket.

Edit 2: mildly humorous to watch them lie in the bed they’ve made for sure
They should 100% be concerned. I hope that I didn't imply otherwise.
 

uncannymanny

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They should 100% be concerned. I hope that I didn't imply otherwise.
Nope. I hope I didn’t come off as accusing (probably! Long day). I’m pushing back on the idea that MLB’s position on gambling has really anything to do with this situation Ohtani is in. And that the motivations and actions of DraftKings, et al are anything like an illegal gambling ring.
 

Max Power

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I tend to agree with this. Let the advertising dollars flow and let the companies promote their "product" as they wish. But having MLB promote the play of the day with Fanduel really hurts my brain.
I don't have a problem with gambling, but he extent to which MLB has let it take over its programming is not enjoyable. NESN and the MLB Network have segments and sometimes entire shows dedicated to gambling on the games. Having them push fans into potentially destructive habits is gross, but it's also just boring TV. I'd rather listen to the former players on MLB Tonight discuss news around the league 100x more than watch some model tell me what I'd win if Trevor Story gets two hits and Nick Pivetta strikes out 8.
 

manny

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I think one distinction between legal sports books and illegal operations is that, for the former, you have to pay up front (or at least with a credit card)? I don't really use those sites, but I doubt you can get into a huge 'debt' with something like DraftKings? I think one of the issues (of many) with professional athletes using an illegal bookie is the possibility of blackmail, extortion, etc. as losses build up. I don't think that is really an issue with the vast majority (all?) of the legal operations. Which, isn't part of the translator's story (or at some point, some version) that he thought Bowyer was placing bets via DraftKings? Assuming it is the translator gambling, that is a huge sum and I can't imagine a gambler like that would truly believe some illegal bookie is using DraftKings to place bets. The whole thing is weird (obviously). I agree with the assessments that the cover up is already making this a far bigger and worse story than it needed to be.

Also, I don't necessarily agree with legalized gambling or leagues promoting it, but not sure this is the best case to say gotcha . I don't see any indication something like this would not have happened if gambling legality were the same as 20 years ago (ignoring the translator's BS about thinking it was going through DraftKings). In other words, I generally agree with most of what @uncannymanny has already said, albeit more eloquently.
 

changer591

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Count me among the ones who thinks this is totally not a big deal unless there is evidence that Ohtani owed anyone money and was the one placing bets. The amount of "jumping to conclusions" here is staggering where people are already saying that Ohtani was in bed with criminals and in debt to them for 7 figures. People with a shit ton of money do things with their money that regular people couldn't comprehend...hell, I've done things with my own money that some people may not comprehend.
The only thing that has made me question anything is the changing of the story. That's the one thing that I hope we all get an explanation.
And lol to gambling sites or establishments doing illegal things to get their money...this isn't like the 70s with the mafia running the show. They probably are MORE concerned about being legal than other businesses these days.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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I really can’t imagine that he gets suspended for a year, or anything really at all to be honest. Unless some damming evidence comes out that shows he specifically bet on baseball, there is zero chance that they are going to suspend Ohtani at all in my opinion.
 

Van Everyman

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Isn’t one of the issues that will prevent MLB from sweeping this under the rug that Ohtani may be facing some measure of legal jeopardy?

Hard to believe the guy could be criminally charged or convicted even of a financial crime but not even be so much as penalized by the league.
 

NYCSox

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Count me among the ones who thinks this is totally not a big deal unless there is evidence that Ohtani owed anyone money and was the one placing bets. The amount of "jumping to conclusions" here is staggering where people are already saying that Ohtani was in bed with criminals and in debt to them for 7 figures. People with a shit ton of money do things with their money that regular people couldn't comprehend...hell, I've done things with my own money that some people may not comprehend.
The only thing that has made me question anything is the changing of the story. That's the one thing that I hope we all get an explanation.
And lol to gambling sites or establishments doing illegal things to get their money...this isn't like the 70s with the mafia running the show. They probably are MORE concerned about being legal than other businesses these days.
Jumping to conclusions should be part of the tagline for each forum on this site. :)
 

Yelling At Clouds

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News outlets that aren't really known for sports coverage (like the Atlantic) are starting to pick up on this story, which is another indication that it's not going away easily - not that too many people thought it would.
 

jon abbey

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Count me among the ones who thinks this is totally not a big deal unless there is evidence that Ohtani owed anyone money and was the one placing bets.

People with a shit ton of money do things with their money that regular people couldn't comprehend.
So confused by this post, how can you write the second part above after having written the first part? Do you think the interpreter had/has 'a shit ton of money'?
 

Gash Prex

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Guess MLB realized they couldn’t just stick their fingers in their ears on this one
 

radsoxfan

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Just out of curiosity....

If Ohtani is suspended without pay for a year, does he lose 2M (his 2024 salary) or 46M (his luxury tax hit, and essentially what he is actually getting paid for 1 year of work)
 

pearccol

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Tweet from Jeff Israel:

“Welcome back to SportsCenter Presented by ESPN Bet, for more on the Ohtani situation we go to our FanDuel MLB Insider Jeff Passan at our DraftKings Studio in Los Angeles brought to you by Caesar’s Sportsbook. Jeff, how could something like this happen?”
 

E5 Yaz

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Tweet from Jeff Israel:

“Welcome back to SportsCenter Presented by ESPN Bet, for more on the Ohtani situation we go to our FanDuel MLB Insider Jeff Passan at our DraftKings Studio in Los Angeles brought to you by Caesar’s Sportsbook. Jeff, how could something like this happen?”
Who's Jeff Israel?
 

changer591

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So confused by this post, how can you write the second part above after having written the first part? Do you think the interpreter had/has 'a shit ton of money'?
No, I'm saying that Ohtani has a shit ton of money and maybe he doesn't think it's a big deal to help a friend.
 

beautokyo

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Post #55 in this thread is someone in Japan who states several of their pro-baseball players have gotten into trouble for gambling, it's not like it's just an American thing. That they're trying to pin this on the interpreter is gross.
Post #80 goes into further detail.
 

jon abbey

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No, I'm saying that Ohtani has a shit ton of money and maybe he doesn't think it's a big deal to help a friend.
The current story from Ohtani's camp is that Mizuhara stole the money from him, $4.5M. I feel like people are doing backflips to figure out a possible way Ohtani genuinely didn't know anything about this, but the size of the indebtedness makes that seem close to impossible.

Anyway MLB has until Thursday for the next real Dodgers game, wonder whether they will spend more energy this week on investigating or trying to spin the situation. Actually I'm not really wondering.
 

changer591

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The current story from Ohtani's camp is that Mizuhara stole the money from him, $4.5M. I feel like people are doing backflips to figure out a possible way Ohtani genuinely didn't know anything about this, but the size of the indebtedness makes that seem close to impossible.

Anyway MLB has until Thursday for the next real Dodgers game, wonder whether they will spend more energy this week on investigating or trying to spin the situation. Actually I'm not really wondering.
Like I said...I'm not clear on why the story changed. If it matches the first story, then I'm totally unconcerned. If it matches the second story, then I'm also unconcerned. If there is clear evidence Ohtani himself went through the illegal bookie to make bets, then there are problems.
 

E5 Yaz

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Like I said...I'm not clear on why the story changed. If it matches the first story, then I'm totally unconcerned. If it matches the second story, then I'm also unconcerned. If there is clear evidence Ohtani himself went through the illegal bookie to make bets, then there are problems.
But the point is this: How did the translator manage to "steal" $4.5 million from a famous person's account(s), a person who should have a team of financial advisors monitoring his overall financial stability?
The "story" they settle on doesn't matter. It's the nuts and bolts of how the money was transferred that the feds will focus on, and that will ultimately determine Ohtani's culpability in the matter.
 

Jace II

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Like I said...I'm not clear on why the story changed. If it matches the first story, then I'm totally unconcerned. If it matches the second story, then I'm also unconcerned. If there is clear evidence Ohtani himself went through the illegal bookie to make bets, then there are problems.
It doesn’t bother you that Ohtani may have known about his translator’s debts and maybe even paid them off, but then publicly accused him of “massive theft” to avoid being personally implicated in the transfers?
 

Yaz4Ever

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It doesn’t bother you that Ohtani may have known about his translator’s debts and maybe even paid them off, but then publicly accused him of “massive theft” to avoid being personally implicated in the transfers?
Again, as has been stated several times in this thread, none of us knows anything about this situation other than rumors and innuendo. Others have mentioned that he was willing to pay off his friend's debt and the friend may have exaggerated the debts. This would result in both things being true - Schroedinger's Debt Relief. He owed $3M, told Ohtani it was $4.5M and pocketed the rest, which would be massive theft.
 

changer591

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It doesn’t bother you that Ohtani may have known about his translator’s debts and maybe even paid them off, but then publicly accused him of “massive theft” to avoid being personally implicated in the transfers?
Is that what happened or is this more jumping to conclusions? That's a rhetorical question by the way. You've just managed to conflate two stories into a single one. I just said that I would not be bothered in the least if either story was proven to be true. Your take on the matter is a third scenario that hasn't come to light yet.
 

Jace II

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Is that what happened or is this more jumping to conclusions? That's a rhetorical question by the way. You've just managed to conflate two stories into a single one. I just said that I would not be bothered in the least if either story was proven to be true. Your take on the matter is a third scenario that hasn't come to light yet.
I'm not jumping to conclusions. I have no idea what happened. You said you were not bothered by either of your first 2 scenarios (even though the first may be a federal crime) - you'd only be bothered if Ohtani himself placed the bets. But the first two scenarios together, given the way the story changed, could logically mean that Ohtani did not want to be associated with any payment to the bookie and was willing to change his story to the legal peril of his own associate.

My point is that I don't think you have to assume Ohtani made the bets firsthand for him to be involved in this in a potentially illegal way.

Again, as has been stated several times in this thread, none of us knows anything about this situation other than rumors and innuendo. Others have mentioned that he was willing to pay off his friend's debt and the friend may have exaggerated the debts. This would result in both things being true - Schroedinger's Debt Relief. He owed $3M, told Ohtani it was $4.5M and pocketed the rest, which would be massive theft.
I certainly agree that nobody knows what happened. That said, Ohtani paying any substantial amount of the debts at all - ie, knowingly wiring money to an illegal enterprise - may be a crime. He was likely informed of this after his team released their first version of their story, and then the story changed.
 
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CR67dream

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Is that what happened or is this more jumping to conclusions? That's a rhetorical question by the way. You've just managed to conflate two stories into a single one. I just said that I would not be bothered in the least if either story was proven to be true. Your take on the matter is a third scenario that hasn't come to light yet.
I haven't seen a lot of people jumping to conclusions. It's pretty clear that, using critical thinking skills, there are many, many reasonable possibilities here. That's what people are doing and what's being discussed. Mostly.

What I have seen is a lot of pretzel-twisting from those who don't want to believe it's likely, or even possible Ohtani is mixed up in this beyond helping a friend or being an innocent victim. That's understandable, but seems pretty naive.

And it's not like the people you're arguing with have Ohtani tried and convicted.
 
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Jace II

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What I have seen is a lot of pretzel-twisting from those who don't want to believe it's likely, or even possible Ohtani is mixed up in this beyond helping a friend.
I would also say - while I can certainly sympathize with wanting to help a close friend out (which Ohtani is no longer claiming publicly anyway - he says his friend is a thief on a big scale), helping a friend isn't some blanket justification of any action.

Paying millions of dollars to shady people (who are using the money to fund who knows what) isn't just in the clear legally because your friend illegally owed them money.
 

JimD

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Anyway MLB has until Thursday for the next real Dodgers game, wonder whether they will spend more energy this week on investigating or trying to spin the situation. Actually I'm not really wondering.
I'm sure MLB will investigate this matter thoroughly, if for no other reason than to cover themselves by ensuring that they aren't duped by any of the parties involved and risking having a later s***show ensue that makes Manfred & Co. look like idiots.

Assuming that Ohtani was in fact not an illicit gambler, and that nobody bet on baseball, I believe the most likely outcome is a hefty fine along with Mizuhara being banned from working in any MLB-adjacent job.
 

YTF

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It doesn’t bother you that Ohtani may have known about his translator’s debts and maybe even paid them off, but then publicly accused him of “massive theft” to avoid being personally implicated in the transfers?
Is that what happened or is this more jumping to conclusions? That's a rhetorical question by the way. You've just managed to conflate two stories into a single one. I just said that I would not be bothered in the least if either story was proven to be true. Your take on the matter is a third scenario that hasn't come to light yet.
We don't know for sure, but Ohtani's camp via their two VERY different and contradictory stories have certainly left the door open for that interpretation. IMO if anyone has conflated the two stories it's Ohtani's representatives.
 

changer591

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We don't know for sure, but Ohtani's camp via their two VERY different and contradictory stories have certainly left the door open for that interpretation. IMO if anyone has conflated the two stories it's Ohtani's representatives.
You literally said they told two different stories which is not the same thing as conflating two stories into one.
If either story proves to be true, I'm not concerned about anything. If there is some weird third story (which many people appear to conjuring up out of thin air without any evidence), then I reserve the right to judge it then.
People seem to be leaping forward five steps and are saying that Ohtani was making bets with an illegal bookie, and neither story has, in any way, provided any shred of proof that he has done any of that...and frankly, that's the only thing that I would consider worrisome if it came to light.