Rain denies charge of gambling debt

  • Published : Oct 18, 2010 - 19:22
  • Updated : Oct 18, 2010 - 19:22
Life is imitating art in the case of Rain’s continuing fall from grace.

Just as the allegation of defrauding investors in his media promotions company J.Tune Entertainment was subsiding, the South Korean pop-star is now in the news for an alleged gambling debt owed to a Korean-American entrepreneur.

The popular Korean Wave figure once described by the local media as a “world star” has found himself embroiled in yet another money-related mess.

A lawsuit has been filed against the 30-year-old singer and actor in the U.S., claiming that Rain failed to pay back a gambling debt of $150 thousand that was fronted by IT entrepreneur and concert promoter Andrew Kim, a local sports daily reported Monday.

In the report, Kim is quoted as saying Rain frequently placed bets on baccarat games in the VIP lounge of The Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada, with money Kim had bankrolled during the time Rain was in the U.S. preparing for a 2007 concert in Los Angeles.

The concert failed to materialize, allegedly due to a slew of conflicting reasons brought up by both Rain’s camp and Kim’s promotional company.

The debacle resulted in a lawsuit filed against Rain.

Court documents Kim filed for the latest suit describe Rain as a habitual gambler stating, “(Rain and Kim) stayed at the Bellagio where (Rain) first revealed to Kim his heavy gambling habit. Kim was stunned to discover that Rain would repeatedly place bets upwards of $10 thousand.”

In response, J.Tune swiftly issued its own statement Monday saying the latest charges were false and that Kim has a personal vendetta against Rain.

“We are discussing how we can counter sue Kim and get the truth out to the public,” a J.Tune spokesperson told The Korea Herald.

For now, it seems a rocky path awaits Rain, whose latest return to television with the KBS series “Plan B” has been getting soundly beaten by its rival, the SBS drama “Daemul,” in its Wednesday-Thursday timeslot.

Stacked on top of his financial woes, Rain is also suspected of trying to dodge mandatory Korean military service, with Kim saying Rain asked to be introduced to a specialist who could help him obtain U.S. permanent residency. If the current allegations are proven to be true, Rain’s public reputation is likely to be irrevocably damaged as he has packaged his public persona as that of a hardworking entertainer who has overcome personal hardships to become one of Korea’s top stars.

By Song Woong-ki (kws@heraldcorp.com)