BIGBANG's Seungri retires from K-pop after being charged over prostitution ring

12 March 2019, 16:38

Seungri of South Korean boy band Bigbang attends mobile game 'Tower of Saviors'
Seungri of South Korean boy band BIGBANG. Picture: Getty
Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

A member of one of South Korea’s biggest K-pop bands is facing charges for "sexual bribery".

Seungri – who is in one of South Korea's biggest K-Pop bands, BIGBANG – allegedly found prostitutes for businessmen at several nightclubs in Seoul's Gangnam district. He denies the allegations and has now announced he'll retire from the K-Pop music industry, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Prostitution is illegal in South Korea and the charges against Seungri – born Lee Seung-hyun – carry a jail sentence of up to three years. Police are reportedly also investigating claims that the Burning Sun nightclub, where Seungri was a PR Director, was involved in illegal drug use, sexual assaults and police corruption.

View this post on Instagram

승리입니다 제가 이시점에서 연예계를 은퇴를하는것이 좋을거같습니다. 사회적 물의를 일으킨 사안이 너무나 커 연예계 은퇴를 결심했습니다 수사중인 사안에 있어서는 성실하게 조사를 받아 쌓인 모든 의혹을 밝히도록 하겠습니다. 지난 한달반동안 국민들로부터 질타받고 미움받고 지금 국내 모든 수사기관들이 저를 조사하고 있는 상황에서 국민역적 으로까지 몰리는 상황인데 저 하나 살자고 주변 모두에게 피해주는일은 도저히 제스스로가 용납이 안됩니다 지난 10여 년간 많은 사랑을 베풀어준 국내외 많은 팬분들께 모든 진심을 다해 감사드리며 와이지와 빅뱅 명예를 위해서라도 저는 여기까지인거같습니다 다시한번 죄송하고 또 죄송합니다 그동안 모든분들께 감사했습니다

A post shared by @ seungriseyo on

Although he has proclaimed his innocence, shares in his management company, YG Entertainment, dropped by almost 16% and his longtime supporters urged him to quit the band.

Seungri has cancelled the remaining dates in his solo tour and written an emotional Instagram post revealing his plans to leave BIGBANG. "It would be better for me to retire from the entertainment scene at this point," he announced. "As this scandal is too big, I have decided to retire. As for the ongoing investigation, I will take it seriously to clear myself of all the allegations.

"I give my heartfelt, sincere thanks to fans at home and abroad who gave their love for the past 10 years, and I think this should be it for the sake of the reputation of YG and Big Bang."

BIGBANG at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2011.
BIGBANG at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2011. Picture: Getty

BIGBANG – who are made up of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, and Daesung – have sold more than 140 million records since forming in 2006 and are regarded as the "Kings of K-Pop".

The remaining members are currently taking a break too, while three of them carry out their mandatory military service. This includes Seungri, who is due to start his national service on March 25. All South Korean men aged 18-35 must serve in the military – health permitting – for a minimum of 21 months.