Disgraced South Korean pop star Seungri was handed a prison sentence for prostitution-related and gambling offences on Thursday.
The sentence was handed down to the former Big Bang member by a military court after a lengthy investigation into his involvement in the Burning Sun nightclub scandal in Seoul.
Seungri, born Lee Seung-hyun, was found guilty on all nine counts against him. He was sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of facilitating prostitution for investors, and also for gambling overseas using illegal foreign exchanges.
He was also ordered to pay 1.15 billion Korean won (US$1 million) in restitution.
It is hard to see the defendant was not aware of financial payments paid to the women for sex. It appears that he carried out systematic sexual prostitution
The star denied most charges during the court proceedings.
According to South Korean media outlet Yonhap, the military court said: “The defendant [Seungri] arranged sexual favours for foreign investors on many occasions in collusion with his business partner Yoo In-suk and gained benefits as a result. His crime of commercialising sex and violating our traditional custom has caused no small harm to our society.”
In July, military court prosecutors reportedly declared the star had “shown no remorse and shifted blame to other people despite enjoying large benefits from his crimes”.
In court on Thursday judge Hwang Min-je reportedly said, according to Agence France-Presse: “It is hard to see the defendant was not aware of financial payments paid to the women for sex. It appears that he carried out systematic sexual prostitution.”
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The 30-year-old enlisted in South Korea’s armed forces last year after withdrawing from BigBang after the Burning Sun scandal broke. It involved a series of allegations against powerful male entertainers and industry associates, centred around the Burning Sun nightclub, with which Seungri was affiliated.
Numerous allegations concerning Seoul’s high-end clubbing and entertainment industry, including the trafficking of minors for sex, were brought to light by South Korean legal investigators and through reporting by South Korean media.
Several other singers, including soloist Jung Joon-young and FT Island’s Choi Jong-hoon, have been sentenced to prison terms for sexual assaults and rape, while the founder of BigBang’s management company YG Entertainment, Yang Hyun-suk, is also under criminal investigation in connection with the Burning Sun scandal and other alleged offences.