One of the biggest names in the K-pop industry, Seung-ri, has been charged with supplying prostitutes to high profile patrons at his Seoul club. While the singer has denied all charges, he announced on Monday that in the interest of protecting his boy band Big Bang and talent agency YG Entertainment, he will immediately retire from showbiz.
“We booked Seung-ri and changed his status to that of a suspect in order to issue a search and seizure warrant and clear [Seung-ri] of the suspicions,” a police spokesman said at a press conference, Variety reports.
Following a police raid on Sunday night at the nightclub in Seoul that Seung-ri controls, the 28-year-old singer faces charges which potentially carry a three-year prison sentence. The news sent YG shares tumbling to KRW 37,150 on Monday, accounting for a 14 per cent loss in value.
Seoul police had announced in late January that they were monitoring what transpired after a video of an assault at the club went viral online.
According to reports, Seung-ri, real name Lee Seung-Hyun, supplied drug-addled women to VIP clients for sex. However, the singer denied any involvement in the scandal at the time.
Just a month later, a series of texts dating back to 2015 appeared to show Seung-ri in discussion with three other people on how to impress potential investors at the club and his Yuri Holdings company by supplying prostitutes.
While the singer has claimed the evidence was fabricated by the journalist who published them, his concerts in Osaka, Japan, and Jakarta, Indonesia were canceled as the controversy intensified.
According to local media, large quantities of shredded material have been disposed of by YG, which has said the clearing was a routine quarterly procedure and not an effort to destroy potential evidence pertaining to the case.
Having said that, Seung-ri may not be able to enter Korea’s mandatory military service as per a previous plan owing to the ongoing police investigation.
Furthermore, some Korean outlets claimed that police have also confiscated his passport fearing he may flee the country.