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Tae Jin-ah denies gambling rumor, vows legal action

South Korean singer Tae Jin-ah, 61, has denied reports about his alleged illegal gambling at a casino in the U.S. and vowed to take legal action against the media which put out the article in question.

“I have never spent hundreds of million won on gambling in the U.S. My son did not even participate in the gambling,” he said at a press conference held in Seoul on Tuesday.

“I already made it clear that I had visited a casino only for fun on a family trip in the U.S,” he said.

The remark came after a weekly magazine Sisa Journal USA reported on March 17 that Tae spent a large amount of money playing baccarat in a VIP room at a casino in Los Angeles.

“He bet more than a thousand dollars at a time. It is very likely that he lost tens of million won given the number of games he played and length of time,” the weekly magazine claimed in its reports.


(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Tae expressed frustration and anger against the Korean-language media at the press conference, which was broadcast live on cable TV.

“Anybody can make a mistake in their lives. And those who make mistakes can be forgiven. But the head of Sisa Journal USA did not show any sign of atonement and continues to lie. That’s why I am here,” he said.

Tae has already denied the reports in press releases and interviews with local media, but he went on to hold a formal press briefing on Tuesday afternoon to “prevent the recurrence of such malicious acts taking advantage of celebrities.”

“I said I would forgive if the media publishes a correction, but it instead threatened me with follow-up stories,” he said.

In an attempt to back his claims that the reports were made up by the weekly magazine, Tae revealed a recording of a conversation on the phone between the head of Sisa Journal USA and his acquaintance, Howard Park.

In the recording, Sisa Journal USA CEO said, “Let’s say that Tae only had 500,000 won at first. If they stayed up all night, how many times do you think he could have played?”

The CEO of Sisa Journal USA said the exact amount of money involved does not matter and the story would hace been put out anyway.

He also asked Park to demand $250,000 from Tae in return for not breaking the story. “But let’s keep it between us as it could backfire,” the CEO said.

Tae will file a lawsuit against Sisa Journal USA soon, his lawyer said at the press event.

Tae, whose real name is Jo Bang-hun, is a well-known singer in the genre ”trot“ in Korea. The veteran singer’s son Jo Song-hyon is also a professional singer, who goes by the stage name Eru.

Tae heads his own talent agency, Jin-ah Entertainment, home to Eru, hip-hop group Mighty Mouth and balladeer Wheesung.

By Ock Hyun-ju (laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)

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