Former Ohtani interpreter pleads guilty to bank and tax fraud charges

Japanese Major League Baseball player Ohtani Shohei's former interpreter has admitted to stealing millions of dollars from the Los Angeles Dodgers star to pay off his gambling debts.

Mizuhara Ippei's sentencing is scheduled for October 25.

US prosecutors charged Mizuhara with bank fraud and filing a false tax return. They say he stole nearly 17 million dollars from Ohtani's bank account.

Mizuhara appeared at a federal court in Santa Ana, California on Tuesday.

He said he "fell into major gambling debt and the only way that" he could think of to get out of it was to use the money in Ohtani's bank account, which he had access to.

He pleaded guilty to both bank and tax fraud charges.

Mizuhara has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. He is facing up to 33 years in prison, but he is likely to receive a lighter sentence.

The former interpreter did not respond to reporters' questions on Tuesday.

At a news conference, the prosecutors said that, based on sentencing guidelines, Mizuhara will likely be incarcerated. They said he also faces the risk of being deported back to Japan after that.

They stressed that Mizuhara took advantage of Ohtani and victimized the superstar.

Ohtani has released a statement. It says, "Now that the investigation has been completed, this full admission of guilt has brought important closure to me and my family."

Major League Baseball and the Dodgers also released statements. They both indicated that they consider the matter to be closed.