K-Pop Star Seungri Retires After Being Charged With Running Prostitution Ring
K-pop superstar Seungri announced his retirement from the industry — and consequently his part in legendary boy group BIGBANG — amid allegations that he supplied prostitutes to rich foreigners investing in his business in 2015.
The 28-year-old entrepreneur, who is scheduled to begin his mandatory military service on March 25, is also accused of allowing drug use at Burning Sun, the nightclub where he had been executive director, and bribery of police by club officials.
“I feel like it is best for me to retire from the entertainment business at this point,” Seungri said in an Instagram post. “I have decided to do this because the controversy has become so big I will sincerely submit to the investigations on this matter and reveal the truth to all the allegations.”
The scandal erupted after local outlet SBS funE exposed a KakaoTalk conversation between Seungri and alleged employees taking his orders to procure sexual favors on Club Arena, which came under police search on Sunday.
The prostitutes were allegedly for potential investors of Yuri Holdings, the company he founded in 2016 to manage his restaurant and entertainment ventures.
After its initial revelation, SBS funE published another report citing a police insider who claimed that Seungri and seven other people — including two male singers — shared hidden camera recordings in another chat room.
“Out of the KakaoTalk evidence submitted to the police, there are over 10 hidden camera videos and photos. Some of them were uploaded in a group chat room with Seungri and the other celebrities,” the insider said, according to Allkpop.
In the wake of the controversy, shares of Seungri’s management, YG Entertainment, took a nosedive. On Monday, it plunged 14% to 37,150 KRW ($32.76), according to Variety.
Meanwhile, company sources have spoken to local outlets following his announcement of retirement.
“Seungri’s retirement announcement was not a decision made after consulting with YG, but a decision made on his own. He was even more distressed because these incidents happened right before his enlistment,” a source told YTN Star, according to Soompi.
Another source told Xports News, “Currently, there is no additional statement to be made from the company related to this. There has also been nothing decided yet in regards to anything such as a termination of his exclusive contract.”