The former Big Bang singer was indicted without detention for allegedly organizing prostitutes, habitual gambling, and illegal foreign currency trade, a PR official from the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ office confirmed to CNN Thursday. CNN has reached out to Seungri’s lawyer for comment.
Seungri’s indictment is the latest development in the so-called “Burning Sun scandal” over a nightclub in Seoul’s glitzy Gangnam neighborhood. Seungri sat on the board of the club, and oversaw its publicity.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police, Burning Sun was the site of bribery, violence against customers, securing prostitutes for VIPs, rape, drug trafficking and drug use. Numerous women have come forward with claims of being assaulted or drugged at the club.
Burning Sun scandal
Since the allegations, Burning Sun has closed — and a handful of stars have been affected by the scandal.
People outside the entertainment industry have also been brought down by the Burning Sun scandal.
A former police officer was sentenced to one year in jail in August for accepting 20 million won ($17,300) to stop investigating allegations of a minor entering the club, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
According to Yonhap, Burning Sun’s operator, Lee Mun-ho, was sentenced to one year in prison in November for illegal substance use, while another employee — surnamed Cho — was sentenced in December to four years and six months in prison for illegal substance possession and drug trafficking.
The scandal has prompted questions over how stars in South Korea’s multibillion-dollar entertainment industry treat women — and whether the industry is as squeaky-clean as the image it projects.
K-pop labels often restrict who stars can publicly date, what they wear, and how they behave in public. Celebrities caught with even small amounts of marijuana can find themselves suspended by labels or forced to make public apologies.
But the scandal also resonates with broader issues of illicit recordings, sexual harassment and voyeurism in South Korean society.
CNN’s Jake Kwon contributed to this report.