K-pop guru questioned by police amid gambling, sex scandals

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) - The music producer behind some of South Korea's biggest K-pop stars was questioned by police on Thursday in connection with an investigation into illegal gambling and prostitution that has rocked the music industry.

According to police investigators, a network of pop stars, businessmen and police are alleged to have colluded and enabled tax evasion, bribery, and prostitution at some of the glitziest clubs in Seoul's swanky Gangnam district.

Yang Hyun-suk, founder of YG Entertainment which manages top artists such as Big Bang, Blackpink and others, appeared for questioning at a Seoul police station.

"I will sincerely explain my position to the police," Yang told reporters before entering the station.

Police declined to comment on what they said was an ongoing investigation.

Yang, himself a former legendary performer, resigned as YG's chief producer in June and has denied accusations over drug and sex scandals involving some of his artists.

The scandal intensified in March when Seungri, a 28-year-old member of YG's boyband Big Bang, quit showbiz over sex bribery accusations, prompting police investigations and the resignation of three other K-pop stars.

Seungri was questioned by police on Wednesday and declined to comment.

Yang is the biggest shareholder of YG, which he established in 1996. His brother Yang Min-suk, the firm's chief executive, has also resigned.

YG Entertainment is among the top K-Pop record labels but its shares have more than halved in value this year due to the scandal.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Daewoung Kim and Hayoung Choi; Editing by Darren Schuettler)