Cops have issued an arrest warrant for a K-pop star accused of procuring prostitutes for business investors and embezzling money from a scandal-ridden nightclub.
Seungri, 29, was a member of BIGBANG, who have been dubbed the ‘kings of K-pop’ in their native South Korea and are rated as one of the best-selling boy bands in the world, until he retired in March amidst multiple allegations.
Police in the capital city of Seoul have now formally requested an arrest warrant for Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, and his business partner, Yoo In-suk, for allegedly arranging sex workers to entertain investors from Japan in 2015.
Pictures Credit: AsiaWire/@seungriseyo
Seungri and Yoo are also suspected of embezzling about 530 million WON (350,000 GBP) from the Burning Sun, a nightclub in the Gangnam district of Seoul where the singer worked as a public relations director, in July 2016.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) confirmed it had requested warrants for the arrest and detention of the pair, ahead of a trial.
A spokesman said: “The two suspects appear to have jointly arranged sexual services and embezzlement, and there has been suspicion they attempted to destroy evidence.”
Police say Yoo solicited prostitutes when a group of seven Japanese businessmen visited Seoul in December 2015 and wired money to a broker to pay for their services. A total of 17 women face prostitution charges.
Police are also investigating claims that Seungri and Yoo arranged similar sexual services at the Arena nightclub in Seoul in 2015 and at a birthday party for Seungri in the Philippines in 2017.
Police say they launched their investigation after discovering a group text chat between Seungri and Yoo in 2015 indicated they were preparing a “special party” and girls for visiting Japanese guests.
Yoo admitted to some of the charges but Seungri denied the charges against him, police say.
Their nightclub interests were centred on the posh Gangnam area of Seoul, immortalised in the 2012 Psy hit, ‘Gangnam Style’, which was the first YouTube video to notch up one billion views.
Burning Sun has been at the heart of a scandal amidst claims staff used hidden cameras to film women and used alcohol and drugs to sexually assault them.
Seungri, who has been nicknamed ‘Korea’s Great Gatsby’ because of his lavish lifestyle, announced his retirement from music in March.
It came just days before Jung Joon-young, 30, another K-pop singer, announced his own retirement from amid claims he shot and shared sexual imagery without his partners’ consent.
South Korean pop music, better known as K-pop, has become a global phenomenon due to its upbeat, addictive music, choreographed dances, and eye-catching videos.