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Ex-YG Entertainment head denies charges in whistleblower blackmail case

Yang Hyun-suk (C), former CEO of K-pop powerhouse YG Entertainment, is surrounded by reporters as he arrives at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul for a trial on Friday. (Yonhap)
Yang Hyun-suk (C), former CEO of K-pop powerhouse YG Entertainment, is surrounded by reporters as he arrives at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul for a trial on Friday. (Yonhap)
The former head of K-pop powerhouse YG Entertainment on Friday denied allegations of threatening a whistleblower in an attempt to block an investigation into a drug scandal involving a singer-rapper with the company.

Former YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun-suk has been indicted for allegedly threatening and coercing a whistleblower who testified to police about drug suspicions surrounding B.I, a former member of YG's boy band iKON, in August 2016.

In a court trial held in Seoul, Yang told a judge "yes" when asked whether he agrees with his lawyer, who insisted that Yang met with the informant but did not threaten or coerce the person to lie to law enforcement authorities.

In September, B.I, whose legal name is Kim Han-bin, was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for four years, on illegal drug use charges. He was ordered to do 80 hours of community service and to complete 40 hours of drug treatment sessions.

The drug scandal involving B.I led to the resignation of Yang as CEO of YG Entertainment, home to iKON, as well as other prominent K-pop bands such as BLACKPINK and TREASURE. B.I also left iKON over the scandal and had his contract with the company terminated. (Yonhap)

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