Ex-YG head to be questioned over alleged gambling

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Ex-YG head to be questioned over alleged gambling

YG Entertainment headquarters, Mapo-gu, Seoul / Yonhap
By Lee Suh-yoon

Disgraced former YG Entertainment head Yang Hyun-suk is likely to face more police questioning soon, this time over his alleged illegal gambling overseas, together with Seungri, a former member of the YG act BIGBANG.

The questioning will be the latest chapter in the investigation into multiple allegations involving Yang, Seungri and other stars there, such as prostitution, drug use and pimping.

Yang Hyun-suk / Courtesy of YG Entertainment
On Saturday, police searched the YG Entertainment building in Mapo, Seoul, three days after booking Yang and Seungri over habitual gambling. The raid lasted for five hours, starting at 9 a.m.

Police are analyzing collected evidence to evaluate suspicions over whether the former YG head gambled abroad for years.

Investigators said they could not reveal specifics of the evidence they have confiscated at this point, but added they collected "all available evidence." Yang's residence was not included in Saturday's search.

They are also looking into whether Yang dipped into company coffers to fund his million-dollar gambling activities, which could constitute embezzlement, and if he and Seungri violated the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act in doing so.

"We are looking into how Yang scraped together the money he gambled and how the money was able to be taken out of the country without the authorities' knowledge," Park Dong-ju, chief of the intellectual crime investigation division at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, told The Korea Times in a phone interview.

After examining the evidence, police will summon both Yang and Seungri for questioning soon.

Earlier this month, local news outlets reported police obtained casino records showing Yang and Seungri losing hundreds of thousands of dollars while gambling at VIP rooms in the MGM hotel casino at Las Vegas. The money they gambled was allegedly channeled out of the country through an illicit cash swap method. The Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU), the government anti-money laundering watchdog, also provided the police with transaction records of the domestic and foreign bank accounts of Yang. Suspicions are that he siphoned out around 1.3 billion won ($1.1 million) from the country to gamble.

YG Entertainment could not be reached for comment.

Yang, 49, the founder of YG Entertainment and a former boy band member of the 1990s, resigned in June after being accused of arranging illegal prostitution services for foreign business clients. He was grilled for nine hours at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on June 26 as part of this ongoing investigation.

The massive K-pop scandal that broke out with the drug-and-rape allegations at Seungri's Burning Sun nightclub has dealt a long-lasting blow to YG, considered one of the "Big Three" K-pop entertainment firms here alongside SM and JYP. Popular YG-grown K-pop idol groups include BLACKPINK, iKON and WINNER. Psy was also a part of YG Entertainment when he released his 2012 hit "Gangnam Style."

Daesung, another BIGBANG member, came under fire recently for renting out parts of his eight-floor building in southern Seoul to illegal sex businesses.


YG Entertainment headquarters, Mapo-gu, Seoul / Yonhap
By Lee Suh-yoon

Disgraced former YG Entertainment head Yang Hyun-suk is likely to face more police questioning soon, this time over his alleged illegal gambling overseas, together with Seungri, a former member of the YG act BIGBANG.

The questioning will be the latest chapter in the investigation into multiple allegations involving Yang, Seungri and other stars there, such as prostitution, drug use and pimping.

Yang Hyun-suk / Courtesy of YG Entertainment
On Saturday, police searched the YG Entertainment building in Mapo, Seoul, three days after booking Yang and Seungri over habitual gambling. The raid lasted for five hours, starting at 9 a.m.

Police are analyzing collected evidence to evaluate suspicions over whether the former YG head gambled abroad for years.

Investigators said they could not reveal specifics of the evidence they have confiscated at this point, but added they collected "all available evidence." Yang's residence was not included in Saturday's search.

They are also looking into whether Yang dipped into company coffers to fund his million-dollar gambling activities, which could constitute embezzlement, and if he and Seungri violated the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act in doing so.

"We are looking into how Yang scraped together the money he gambled and how the money was able to be taken out of the country without the authorities' knowledge," Park Dong-ju, chief of the intellectual crime investigation division at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, told The Korea Times in a phone interview.

After examining the evidence, police will summon both Yang and Seungri for questioning soon.

Earlier this month, local news outlets reported police obtained casino records showing Yang and Seungri losing hundreds of thousands of dollars while gambling at VIP rooms in the MGM hotel casino at Las Vegas. The money they gambled was allegedly channeled out of the country through an illicit cash swap method. The Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU), the government anti-money laundering watchdog, also provided the police with transaction records of the domestic and foreign bank accounts of Yang. Suspicions are that he siphoned out around 1.3 billion won ($1.1 million) from the country to gamble.

YG Entertainment could not be reached for comment.

Yang, 49, the founder of YG Entertainment and a former boy band member of the 1990s, resigned in June after being accused of arranging illegal prostitution services for foreign business clients. He was grilled for nine hours at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on June 26 as part of this ongoing investigation.

The massive K-pop scandal that broke out with the drug-and-rape allegations at Seungri's Burning Sun nightclub has dealt a long-lasting blow to YG, considered one of the "Big Three" K-pop entertainment firms here alongside SM and JYP. Popular YG-grown K-pop idol groups include BLACKPINK, iKON and WINNER. Psy was also a part of YG Entertainment when he released his 2012 hit "Gangnam Style."

Daesung, another BIGBANG member, came under fire recently for renting out parts of his eight-floor building in southern Seoul to illegal sex businesses.


Lee Suh-yoon sylee@koreatimes.co.kr


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