MANILA, Philippines – After previously pleading not guilty for eight of the nine charges at an earlier trial, former BIGBANG member Seungri admitted guilt for his crimes on Thursday, January 27, and got a reduced jail sentence.
The fallen K-pop idol and actor expressed his remorse and guilt for his crimes linked to the 2019 Burning Sun scandal during an appeal trial at the High Court for Armed Forces. The trial was done in a military court, because Seungri was already enlisted in military service during the investigation.
According to The South China Morning Post, the court has granted him a halved prison sentence, which is now at a year and six months, with a fine of 1,156,900,000 won ($956,668.36)*. Seungri, 31, was sentenced to three years in prison in August 2021 by a military court.
Seungri’s nine charges include a violation of the Act on the Aggravated Punishment, violation of the Food Sanitation Act, embezzlement, violation of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Sexual Crimes, habitual gambling, violation of the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act, prostitution mediation, purchase of prostitution services, and special violence instigation.
In his first trial, Seungri denied all crimes except the violation of the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act, which deals with foreign exchange policies related to overseas gambling. The third trial will be held at the Supreme Court of Korea.
Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, was accused of involvement in the Burning Sun scandal of 2019. The scandal involved several high-profile personalities who had been convicted of crimes committed in the Burning Sun nightclub, where Seungri was a public relations director.
In February 2019, the Seoul Police Department launched an investigation, and deemed the former K-pop star to be a person of interest. Police alleged that Seungri offered prostitutes to investors of Burning Sun. BIGBANG’s agency YG Entertainment denied the allegations, claiming that the story was fabricated.
BIGBANG debuted in 2006 and gained widespread fame soon after. After years of success and fame, Seungri announced his retirement from showbiz in March 2019 following the allegations against him. – Rappler.com
*1 KRW = $0.000826977