South Korea’s 'Great Gatsby' charged over prostitution ring | Eurasia Diary -

22 May, Wednesday

South Korea’s 'Great Gatsby' charged over prostitution ring

Big Bang singer Seungri retires to clear his name, saying K-pop scandal is ‘too big’

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Seungri’s taste for the high life earned him the nickname the Great Gatsby of Korea. But now the singer, a member of one of South Korea’s biggest K-pop bands, is facing charges that he procured prostitutes for businessmen in some of Seoul’s most fashionable nightclubs.

The youngest member of Big Bang has announced he will retire to fight the charges and to spare his management agency, YG Entertainment, and fellow band members further embarrassment, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. The decision came after news of the scandal spread on social media on Monday.

Shares in YG slid by almost 16%, while other K-pop management companies also suffered losses.

The 28-year-old is suspected of supplying prostitutes to foreign investors at several nightclubs in Seoul’s upmarket Gangnam district.

Prostitution is illegal in South Korea. The charges against Seungri carry a prison sentence of up to three years. He has denied the allegations.

Police are also investigating claims that the Burning Sun nightclub, where Seungri was a public relations director, was involved in illegal drug use, sexual assaults and police corruption, Yonhap reported.

Much of the reaction to his arrest has been damning, with some fans calling for him to be kicked out of the band.

“I have faced heavy criticism from the public for the last month and a half and I’m being probed by all investigative authorities in the country,” he said in his Instagram post. “As I’ve been branded as a ‘national traitor’, I cannot stand the fact that I’m harming others for my own sake.”

But some fans pledged their support for the singer. Bloomberg quoted one social media user as saying: “We call on the real fans’ voice, do not fall into the shameless trap, we support Seungri!”

The Guardian

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