Ohtani denies any involvement in sports gambling

Major League Baseball's Ohtani Shohei has spoken to the media for the first time about his former interpreter's alleged illegal sports gambling.

The Japanese superstar said he had no involvement in Mizuhara Ippei's betting.

Ohtani spoke in front of about 100 reporters. The Los Angeles Dodgers' manager, Dave Roberts, and senior executives of the team were also present.

Ohtani said that he never bet on baseball or any other sport. He also said that he never asked anyone to do so on his behalf. The star stressed that he has never used a bookmaker to bet on sports, and he said that he was never asked to help pay someone else's gambling debts.

US tax authorities have launched an investigation into the alleged illegal gambling, and MLB has also started a probe.

US sports outlet ESPN reported last week that Mizuhara racked up massive debts by placing bets with an illegal bookmaker. It said four and a half million dollars had been transferred to the bookmaker from an account in Ohtani's name.

Ohtani said he did not know that Mizuhara was addicted to gambling. He also denied agreeing to pay off his debts.

Ohtani added that he was not even aware of Mizuhara's gambling until he attended a team meeting that was held in the clubhouse after the MLB season opener in South Korea. He said that Mizuhara has been stealing money from his account and telling lies.
Ohtani's news conference lasted just over 10 minutes. He left without taking any questions.