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[Newsmaker] Police ask for indictment of former YG chief, Seungri on gambling charges

Yang Hyun-suk, the scandal-ridden former CEO of YG Entertainment, and Seungri, a former member of the K-pop boy band BIGBANG, were found to have each spent several hundred million won on gambling abroad, police said Thursday, wrapping up monthslong investigations.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said it will refer Yang and Seungri to the prosecution with a recommendation that they be indicted on charges of habitual gambling. But the police agency said it will not recommend indictment for the two regarding their suspected foreign exchange law violations.

The 49-year-old Yang and Seungri, 28, have been investigated over an allegation that they had regularly gambled at hotel casinos in Las Vegas and violated foreign exchange law to secure gambling money.


According to police investigators, Yang and Seungri had gambled in Las Vegas once or twice a year since the second half of 2014, the earliest date a prosecution would still be valid under the statute of limitations.

The amount of money spent by Yang and Seungri reportedly reached several hundred million won and 1 billion won ($823,000), respectively.

Seungri gambled at one hotel in Las Vegas, while Yang patronized several hotels, the investigators said, adding that Seungri earned some money from gambling and they never gambled together.

The two celebrities reportedly admitted to having gambled abroad.

The SMPA also plans to refer three acquaintances of Yang to the prosecution on charges of habitual gambling in the United States.

Police investigators looked into suspicions of foreign exchange violations by Yang and Seungri but failed to find evidence to support criminal charges. They also investigated suspicions that Yang embezzled company money to secure funds for gambling but failed to find any evidence.

Yang, an idol-turned-K-pop guru who once led one of the biggest K-pop management firms, resigned from the top post at YG Entertainment in June as its big-name artists were embroiled in a series of scandals, including alleged drug use.

Last month, the SMPA dropped pimping charges against Yang, saying police investigators had failed to verify suspicions that Yang arranged sex services for foreign investors in 2014. (Yonhap)