Former BIGBANG member Seungri was sentenced to three years in prison by a South Korean military court on Thursday, August 12.
According to a Yonhap News Agency report, Seungri was convicted over “multiple charges, including prostitution mediation and overseas gambling.” The report said the court ordered for Seungri’s immediate detention.
Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, came to the center of the probe when he was accused of involvement in the Burning Sun scandal in 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 into claims that Seungri offered prostitutes to investors of Burning Sun. BIGBANG’s agency YG Entertainment denied the allegations, claiming that the story was fabricated. In August 2019, Seungri was questioned by police for illicit overseas gambling.
According to a Soompi report in September 2020, Seungri admitted to one of the eight charges against him during the first hearing. “We deny all charges except his violation of the Foreign Exchange Transition Act,” Seungri’s camp said then.
At that time, the report said Seungri has been indicted on eight charges, including purchase of prostitution services, prostitution mediation, embezzlement, violation of the Act on the Aggravated Punishment, etc. of Specific Economic Crimes (an additional charge for embezzlement of a sum exceeding a certain number), violation of the Food Sanitation Act, habitual gambling, violation of the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act, and violation of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc.
In January 2021, Soompi reported that Seungri had been charged with special violence instigation.
Seungri himself continues to deny the allegations against him. During a June 30, 2021 hearing, Soompi said Seungri “strongly denied a number of charges, including prostitution services, prostitution mediation, filming illegal hidden camera footage, embezzlement, and habitual gambing.”
Seungri’s three-year prison sentence is less than the five years sought by military prosecutors in July 2021.
Seungri debuted as a member of K-pop boy group BIGBANG in 2006. Following his controversy, he announced his retirement from showbiz in March 2019. – Rappler.com