Big Bang singer Seungri, one of the biggest names in the Korean pop industry, has announced his retirement from showbiz after being charged with supplying prostitutes at his nightclub.
Following a police raid on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at the nightclub in Seoul that Seungri controls, the 28-year-old singer faces charges which potentially carry a three-year prison sentence. Seungri has denied the charges levied on him and has announced that he will immediately retire from showbiz in order to protect his boy band Big Bang.
Seoul police had announced in late January 2019, that they were monitoring what transpired after a video of an assault at the club went viral online.
According to reports, Seungri, real name Lee Seung-Hyun, supplied women to VIP clients for sex. However, the singer denied any involvement in the scandal at the time.
On March 11, Seungri shared the following statement on Instagram, “This is Seungri. At this point, I think it would be best if I retire from the entertainment industry. I decided on retiring from the entertainment industry as the issues that I caused a societal disturbance with are too major. Regarding the issues that are being investigated, I will be investigated diligently and reveal all the suspicions. Receiving criticism and hate from the public for the past month and a half and with the situation of all the investigative agencies in the country currently investigating me, I am even being cornered as a traitor of the nation. I personally cannot tolerate causing harm to everyone around me in order to save myself. I sincerely thank all of the fans in and outside of Korea who have given me lots of love for the past 10 years, and I think this is where I stop even if it’s at least to protect the honour of Big Bang. Again, I am sorry and apologize once again. I have been thankful to everyone until now.”
Just a month later, a series of texts dating back to 2015 appeared to show Seungri in discussion with three other people on how to impress potential investors at the club and his Yuri Holdings company by supplying prostitutes.
While the singer has claimed the evidence was fabricated by the journalist who published them, his concerts in Osaka, Japan, and Jakarta, Indonesia were cancelled as the controversy intensified.
Seungri is due in two weeks to take a temporary leave from the band and enter Korea’s mandatory military service, though that may now be postponed due to the police investigation. Some Korean media have reported that the singer’s passport has been confiscated by police.