Ippei Mizuhara pleads not guilty in procedural move


Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter of Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, pleaded not guilty to bank and tax fraud on Tuesday.

The not guilty plea is a formality ahead of a deal he negotiated with federal prosecutors in the sports betting case that has him facing up to 30 years in prison. Mizuhara allegedly stole nearly $17 million from Ohtani to cover Mizuhara’s illegal gambling losses, which totaled more than $40 million.

Last week, Mizuhara agreed to plead guilty to two charges: bank fraud and subscribing to a false tax return. The first charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison, and the second could add up to three years.

Mizuhara’s plea of not guilty on Tuesday is a procedural step with the case ongoing, according to the Associated Press. He is expected to plead guilty at a later date.