Ohtani's former interpreter appears in court

The former interpreter for Major League Baseball star Ohtani Shohei has pleaded not guilty to bank and tax fraud as a formality in court procedures.

Mizuhara Ippei appeared in a Los Angeles court on Tuesday.

He has been charged with bank fraud and subscribing to a false tax return. He is alleged to have embezzled nearly 17 million dollars from Ohtani's bank account.

Court documents show that Mizuhara has already agreed to plead guilty in the court in a plea deal with federal prosecutors. The not guilty plea is believed to be a procedural step as a magistrate judge, who is empowered to conduct only the initial court procedures, took charge of the Tuesday hearing.

Following the step, Mizuhara is expected to plead guilty to all charges under a judge with the authority to try cases classified as serious offenses in a hearing at a later date.

A spokesperson at the Department of Justice told NHK that the ruling is likely to be handed down a few months later.