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Ippei Mizuhara, ex-interpreter for MLB star Shohei Ohtani, pleads not guilty as a formality

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Ippei Mizuhara, ex-interpreter for MLB star Shohei Ohtani, pleads not guilty as a formality
News

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Ippei Mizuhara, ex-interpreter for MLB star Shohei Ohtani, pleads not guilty as a formality

2024-05-15 06:35 Last Updated At:06:40

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case.

Prosecutors say Ippei Mizuhara stole nearly $17 million from Ohtani to pay off sports gambling debts during a yearslong scheme, at times impersonating Ohtani to bankers, and exploited his personal and professional relationship with the two-way player. Mizuhara signed a plea agreement that detailed the allegations on May 5, and prosecutors announced it several days later.

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Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case.

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

In this courtroom sketch, Ippei Mizuhara, left, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani appears in federal court in Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Bill Robles via AP)

In this courtroom sketch, Ippei Mizuhara, left, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani appears in federal court in Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Bill Robles via AP)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, gets into a vehicle following his arraignment at federal court, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, gets into a vehicle following his arraignment at federal court, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

In this courtroom sketch, Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani appears in federal court in Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Bill Robles via AP)

In this courtroom sketch, Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani appears in federal court in Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Bill Robles via AP)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

FILE - Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, left, stands behind Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani, front right, and translates during an interview at Dodger Stadium, Feb. 3, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Ohtani, is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday, May 14, 2024, to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a sports betting case. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

FILE - Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, left, stands behind Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani, front right, and translates during an interview at Dodger Stadium, Feb. 3, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Ohtani, is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday, May 14, 2024, to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a sports betting case. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

FILE - Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara listens during a baseball news conference at Dodger Stadium, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday, May 14, 2024, to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a sports betting case. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

FILE - Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara listens during a baseball news conference at Dodger Stadium, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday, May 14, 2024, to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a sports betting case. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

During his arraignment Tuesday in federal court in Los Angeles, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jean P. Rosenbluth asked Mizuhara to enter a plea to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. The expected not-guilty plea was a procedural step as the case moves forward, even though he has already agreed to the plea deal.

Defense attorney Michael G. Freedman said Mizuhara planned to plead guilty in the future. In the hallway before the hearing, Freedman said they would not comment Tuesday.

Members of the media were not allowed inside the main courtroom and instead were seated in an audio-only overflow room. The Associated Press and other outlets filed a complaint with the court clerk and chief district judge.

Mizuhara only spoke to answer the judge’s questions, with responses like “yes, ma’am” when asked whether he understood the proceedings.

There was no evidence Ohtani was involved in or aware of Mizuhara’s gambling, and the player is cooperating with investigators, authorities said.

Mizuhara's plea agreement says he will be required to pay Ohtani restitution that could total nearly $17 million, as well as more than $1 million to the IRS. Those amounts could change prior to sentencing. The bank fraud charge carries a maximum of 30 years in federal prison, and the false tax return charge carries a sentence of up to three years in federal prison.

Mizuhara’s winning bets totaled over $142 million, which he deposited in his own bank account and not Ohtani’s. But his losing bets were around $183 million, a net loss of nearly $41 million. He did not wager on baseball.

He is free on an unsecured $25,000 bond, colloquially known as a signature bond, meaning he did not have to put up any cash or collateral to be freed. If he violates the bond conditions — which include a requirement to undergo gambling addiction treatment — he will be on the hook for $25,000.

The judge set a status conference for June 14.

The Los Angeles Times and ESPN broke the news of the prosecution in late March, prompting the Dodgers to fire the interpreter and the MLB to open its own investigation.

MLB rules prohibit players and team employees from wagering on baseball, even legally. MLB also bans betting on other sports with illegal or offshore bookmakers.

Ohtani has sought to focus on the field as the case winds through the courts. Hours after his ex-interpreter first appeared in court in April, he hit his 175th home run in MLB — tying Hideki Matsui for the most by a Japan-born player — during the Dodgers’ 8-7 loss to the San Diego Padres in 11 innings.

This story has been updated to correct the date of Mizuhara’s status conference to June 14.

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

In this courtroom sketch, Ippei Mizuhara, left, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani appears in federal court in Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Bill Robles via AP)

In this courtroom sketch, Ippei Mizuhara, left, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani appears in federal court in Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Bill Robles via AP)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, gets into a vehicle following his arraignment at federal court, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, gets into a vehicle following his arraignment at federal court, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

In this courtroom sketch, Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani appears in federal court in Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Bill Robles via AP)

In this courtroom sketch, Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani appears in federal court in Los Angeles, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Bill Robles via AP)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, center, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Ippei Mizuhara, the former longtime interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Shohei Ohtani, leaves federal court following his arraignment, Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Los Angeles. Mizuhara pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a plea deal he’s negotiated with federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging sports betting case. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

FILE - Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, left, stands behind Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani, front right, and translates during an interview at Dodger Stadium, Feb. 3, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Ohtani, is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday, May 14, 2024, to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a sports betting case. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

FILE - Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, left, stands behind Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani, front right, and translates during an interview at Dodger Stadium, Feb. 3, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Ohtani, is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday, May 14, 2024, to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a sports betting case. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

FILE - Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara listens during a baseball news conference at Dodger Stadium, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday, May 14, 2024, to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a sports betting case. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

FILE - Interpreter Ippei Mizuhara listens during a baseball news conference at Dodger Stadium, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles. Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday, May 14, 2024, to bank and tax fraud, a formality ahead of a deal he has negotiated with federal prosecutors in a sports betting case. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

PARIS (AP) — A legendary French priest and a life-long advocate of the homeless was accused of committing acts that would amount to “sexual assault or sexual harassment,” the international foundation he established said in a statement Wednesday.

Abbé Pierre, who died in 2007, was one of France’s most beloved public figures. The founder of the international Emmaus Community for the poor, Abbé Pierre had served as France’s conscience since the 1950s, when he persuaded Parliament to pass a law — still on the books — forbidding landlords to evict tenants during winter.

Several women have accused the late priest of sexual assault or harassment between the end of the 1970s and 2005, his foundation said in a statement. It explained that it is making public the allegations of seven women, including one who was a minor at the time of abuse, after reviewing the report of an expert firm, which specializes in violence prevention, that was commissioned to listen to women's testimonies, and analyze them.

"The Emmaus Community is making public the acts that may amount to sexual assault or sexual harassment, committed by Abbé Pierre," the statement said. It added that several other women had “suffered comparable acts” of sexual abuse, but were unable to be heard. The alleged victims were employees, volunteers with the foundation or some of its member organizations, or young women in Abbé Pierre’s personal entourage, the statement also said.

The foundation has set up a confidential system for other potential victims to come forward, for “collecting testimonies and providing support to people who were victims of or witnessed unacceptable behavior on the part of Abbé Pierre,” the statement also said.

In 2021, an independent commission on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church estimated that some 330,000 children were sexually abused over 70 years by priests or other church-related figures in France.

FILE - French priest Abbe Pierre prepares to drive away after making various speeches to volunteer helpers who help the homeless in the streets of Paris, on Feb. 2, 1954. Several women have accused late French priest Abbe Pierre of sexual assault or harassment, his foundation said Wednesday July 17, 2024. Abbe Pierre was one of France's most beloved public figures and a lifelong advocate for the homeless. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - French priest Abbe Pierre prepares to drive away after making various speeches to volunteer helpers who help the homeless in the streets of Paris, on Feb. 2, 1954. Several women have accused late French priest Abbe Pierre of sexual assault or harassment, his foundation said Wednesday July 17, 2024. Abbe Pierre was one of France's most beloved public figures and a lifelong advocate for the homeless. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - Abbe Pierre addresses journalists in his home of Alfortville, east of Paris, on Aug. 5, 2005. Several women have accused late French priest Abbe Pierre of sexual assault or harassment, his foundation said Wednesday July 17, 2024. Abbe Pierre was one of France's most beloved public figures and a lifelong advocate for the homeless. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

FILE - Abbe Pierre addresses journalists in his home of Alfortville, east of Paris, on Aug. 5, 2005. Several women have accused late French priest Abbe Pierre of sexual assault or harassment, his foundation said Wednesday July 17, 2024. Abbe Pierre was one of France's most beloved public figures and a lifelong advocate for the homeless. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

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