K-Pop Star Seungri Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison Following Conviction in Prostitution Case


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K-pop star Seungri was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday for sexual solicitation and gambling.

Seungri, whose legal name is Lee Seung-hyun, was also fined ₩1.15 billion (or $USD 989,000), the Associated Press reports.

The former member of the boy band Big Bang was indicted in January 2020 on several charges, including organizing illegal prostitutes for investors from Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and other countries.

According to South Korean news outlet Yonhap, the military court in which Seungri was tried said that he "arranged sexual favors for foreign investors on many occasions in collusion with his business partner Yoo In-suk and gained benefits as a result. His crime of commercializing sex and violating our traditional custom has caused no small harm to our society."

Seungri was also convicted of embezzling around ₩528 million from his nightclub in Seoul and illegal gambling at foreign nightclubs, Yonhap reports. He has denied most of the charges against him.

The K-pop star was formerly one of the biggest names in the genre, as his band Big Bang soared to success after debuting in 2006. He left the group in 2019 following the prostitution allegations.

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"I think I'd better leave the entertainment industry at this moment," Seungri wrote in a post on Instagram following his departure. "I just cannot bear causing any further damage to people around me, while being hated and criticized by the public and being treated as a nation's enemy during the investigation."

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Seungri's conviction comes after two other mega K-pop stars, Choi Jong-hoon and Jung Joon-young, were found guilty in 2019 of being involved in a non-consensual video sex scandal.

Jung Joon-young received a six-year prison sentence for his crimes, while Choi Jong-hoon was sentenced to five years, according to AP.