SEOUL – A former member of K-pop band Bigbang was charged Friday with allegedly hiring prostitution services for potential partners in one of his businesses and gambling while traveling abroad – both considered a crime in South Korea.
The Seoul district prosecutor’s office said it had formalized both accusations against Lee Sung-hyun, known by his stage name Seungri, but had not requested pretrial detention.
It said Seungri hired the services for potential partners from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong between December 2015 and January 2016.
The prosecutor also said Seungri gambled several times between 2013 and 2016 in Las Vegas, United States, along with Yang Hyun-suk, founder of K-Pop giant YG Entertainment, which represented both Seungri and Bigbang. It added that he resigned as CEO in 2019 following this and other scandals.
Yang is considered one of the parents of K-Pop, having been one of the three members of Seo Taiji and Boys, one of the bands that revolutionized the country’s music industry in the ‘90s.
The formal accusation comes just two weeks after a court denied an arrest warrant for Seungri.
Seungri retired from the entertainment industry in March 2019 after becoming a central figure in an investigation around Gangnam district club Burning Sun in Seoul, thought to have harbored drug trafficking, underage prostitution, tax evasion and police corruption activities.
Yoo In-suk, one of Seungri’s business partners, and eight other people were charged today with crimes in connection with the nightclub.