K-pop Musician Seungri Heading to Prison for Gambling, Other Charges

Posted on: August 13, 2021, 03:43h. 

Last updated on: August 14, 2021, 05:26h.

Former K-pop star Seungri was sentenced this week to three years’ incarceration after he was found guilty Thursday on gambling, prostitution, and other counts.

South Korea’s government outlaws its citizens gambling in foreign nations
Lee Seung-hyun, known as Seungri, pictured above in 2019. The ex-K-pop musician was sentenced this week to three years in prison. Among his charges were those related to gambling. (Image: AP)

Formally known as Lee Seung-hyun, a South Korean military judge found that the 30-year-old stole money from his nightclub to gamble.

Most of his gaming spree took place in Las Vegas between 2013 and 2017, news reports said. It was alleged Seungri and a business associate, Yang Hyun-suk, spent millions on trips to Las Vegas gaming properties.

For instance, during one visit to the MGM Grand, the duo played high-stakes baccarat for around $3,300 per hand, ultimately wagering over $3 million during the session. Seungri and Yang allegedly gambled separately one or two times a year, starting in 2014.

South Korea’s government outlaws its citizens gambling in foreign nations and in most all domestic gaming properties.

In total, Seungri was convicted in South Korea on nine counts, the New York Post reported. One of the charges related to gambling with stolen funds.

Some other counts relate to organizing prostitution for potential investors in the now-defunct nightclub in which he was a principal shareholder, CNN said. The club was called the Burning Sun. It was located in Seoul’s Gangnam District.

The wealthy investors were from such nations as Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Alleged Wrongdoing at Seoul Nightclub

Based on their investigation, Seoul police claimed the nightclub was ripe with bribery, drug trafficking, organizing of prostitution, sex assaults, and violence, CNN reported. In recent years, women reported they were drugged and assaulted at the nightclub, the report adds.

It is hard to see the defendant was not aware of financial payments paid to the women for sex,” Judge Hwang Min-je said in statements quoted by Asian media during the sentencing. “It appears that he carried out systematic sexual prostitution.”

In addition to the prison time, Seungri must pay a fine of 1.15 billion won. That is equal to approximately US $989,000 million.

He denied most of the allegations made against him during the trial, the BBC said. But the judge reportedly questioned his credibility.

The case was heard by a military court, because Seungri enlisted in the South Korean army in 2020, the BBC adds. South Korea has mandatory military service for male citizens.

Kings of K-Pop

Earlier, Seungri performed in a band called Big Bang. The group was wildly popular and sold more than 150 million records.

They were credited as being the “Kings of K-pop.” He was a soloist with the band, performing with them between 2006 and 2019.

In 2019, he left the band as allegations surfaced of wrongdoing.