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Burning Sons news round-up (21/03/2019)

MBC reports additional information about Burning Sun employee "Anna" + alleged distribution of drugs

MBC’s “Newsdesk” has revealed additional information about “Anna,” an MD (merchandiser, also known as promoter) at the club Burning Sun.

Anna is a Chinese woman who was interrogated by the police under suspicion of selling drugs to VIP clients at Burning Sun. MBC previously reported that the National Forensic Service had tested Anna’s hair and urine for drugs during the first round of investigations, and the results from her hair came back positive for methamphetamine, ecstasy, opium, marijuana, and ketamine.

During the March 20 broadcast of the show, MBC reported that Anna admitted to using drugs but denied allegations of distributing them during her March 19 interrogation. The news outlet also interviewed Anna’s acquaintances at Burning Sun and asked them about Anna and her alleged drug distribution.

A man who referred to himself as a friend of Anna’s stated, “Anna [once] brought a package of drugs. I asked, ‘How’d you bring them in?’ She said she had them transported by boat. You know those Tupperware cases? She came carrying two of those filled to the brim with drugs. Anna told me that she had brought [the drugs to Korea] with a Chinese VIP [client] and even told me to try some. It was a white powder.”

Another woman known for being a VIP at Burning Sun also commented, “Anna usually carried [the drugs] around in her pocket or her wallet. She once offered me some type of pill and suggested that I take it.”

In response to this report, the police stated that they were aware of Anna’s alleged drug smuggling and distribution.

Seungri's lawyer responds to allegations of cocaine use

On March 20, MBN’s “8 O’Clock News” reported that according to a source within the police, the testimony they received regarding Seungri’s alleged drug use was specifically about the use of cocaine while abroad. The police, who reportedly considered the testimony credible, is currently investigating the claims and attempting to ascertain the exact date of Seungri’s alleged cocaine use. The police is also said to have privately summoned Seungri for questioning regarding the testimony on March 18.

MBN reported that Seungri’s lawyer has denied the allegations, stating that he is willing to undergo questioning together with the individual who made the claims. The lawyer also stated that Seungri is willing to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence.

Seungri previously tested negative for drugs last month, when he underwent his first round of police questioning on February 27.

SBS reveals past interview with former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk + questions validity of his written apology

SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” has questioned the validity of former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk’s written apology.

On the March 20 broadcast of the show, it was revealed that Yoo In Suk had previously met with SBS reporters before the news outlet had released reports about the Burning Sun issue. This was also before Yoo In Suk issued a statement where he denied all accusations being made against him. In the statement, Yoo In Suk had called the content of the controversial KakaoTalk conversations “jokes” and denied having collusive ties to Senior Superintendent Yoon.

According to SBS, Yoo In Suk had denied all the allegations made against him by the reporters and called all the accusations “bluffs, lies, and jokes” during that time as well.

During the interview, the reporter had shown Yoo In Suk a picture of Senior Superintendent Yoon and asked if the police officer was someone that he knew. In response, Yoo In Suk stated, “I don’t know him at all.” He also stated that he did not know Yoon’s wife, who currently lives in Malaysia, and denied playing golf with the senior superintendent, saying, “I don’t have a golf membership, so I use a golf app to play in a team with random people. Although I’ve played golf with people I don’t know numerous times, I don’t know the police officer in the photo.”

Although he denied knowing the police officer, Yoo In Suk wrote in his apology letter released on March 19 that he “followed Senior Superintendent Yoon as a hyung” and that they “had meals and played golf together a few times.”

Choi Jong Hoon also revealed in his own phone interview with SBS on March 2 that Yoo In Suk and Senior Superintendent Yoon were “very close.”

Jung Joon Young admits to all charges and apologises before interrogation at court

On March 21 at 9:30 a.m. KST, Jung Joon Young arrived at the Seoul Central District Court to be interrogated for the determination of the validity of an arrest warrant that was requested by the police on March 18. Former Burning Sun employee Mr. Kim was also summoned to be questioned for the same reason.

Jung Joon Young and Mr. Kim were charged for sharing illegal hidden camera footage in chatrooms, thus violating the act on Special Cases concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Violence Crimes.

After arriving at the Seoul Central District Court, Jung Joon Young stood in front of the press and read a statement he had handwritten in advance.

He stated, “I apologize. I have committed an unforgivable crime. I admit to all of the charges made against me. I will not argue [about the charges] and humbly abide by the court’s decision. Once again, I deeply apologize to the victims to whom I caused pain, the women who received secondary damages due to groundless rumors, and everyone who showed me interest and love until now. I will faithfully cooperate with the investigations and spend the rest of my life repenting.”

Regarding the arrest warrant request, a source from the court explained, “Although it is not confirmed, the results will most likely be out late tonight.”

Choi Jong Hoon booked for bribing police to cover up past drunk driving incident

New evidence indicates that former FTISLAND member Choi Jong Hoon tried to bribe the police officer who caught him drunk driving in 2016.

On March 21, the police announced that they booked Choi Jong Hoon for offering 2 million won (approximately $1,778) at the scene to cover up his drunk driving incident.

A source from the police said, “We have booked Choi Jong Hoon for now because we received a testimony from the officer that [Choi Jong Hoon] showed desire to offer bribes to him.” It was further revealed that the police officer rejected the offer at the time.

The source continued, “We will confirm how [Choi Jong Hoon] offered the bribes, how [the offer] was rejected, and how [the situation] was concluded, through further investigation.”

Meanwhile, the police also booked the lawyer of Jung Joon Young (from the singer’s 2016 case against his ex-girlfriend) for charges of destroying evidence. The lawyer allegedly attempted to destroy evidence while the singer was undergoing investigation for illegally filming his ex-girlfriend.

Seungri's lawyer denies all allegations made against singer in new interview

With Seungri currently under police investigation on charges involving the mediation of prostitution services, new allegations continue to emerge. His lawyer has stepped forward to deny the claims of Seungri being involved in prostitution services and of using drugs.

On March 20, MBN’s “News 8” reported that police had secured testimony that there were escort services or prostitution mediation at Seungri’s 2017 birthday party, which took place in the Philippines, and they had also secured testimony that Seungri had used cocaine overseas.

Lawyer Son Byung Ho, Seungri’s legal representative, spoke with News1 for an exclusive interview on March 21 and stated, “Those reports are untrue and we will take all necessary measures, whether it involves a cross-examination with the informant or the use of a lie detector.” He added, “We feel the reports around the prostitution and drug use reports only center around claims made by malicious informants. We feel frustrated and that this is unfair. The text messages being reported on have portions that have been omitted, causing misunderstandings that are different from the truth.” He had previously denied the allegations that Seungri had used cocaine.

The lawyer also spoke on the allegations that Seungri had mediated prostitution that were reported on in February. He said, “The reports say Seungri spoke to Mr. Kim to prepare a place at Club Arena and invite women for ‘A,’ who is from Taiwan, and her party,” and “The ‘A’ here is a long-time (female) friend of Seungri and is Singaporean. She has no connection to Seungri’s businesses whatsoever, and her occupation has nothing to do with investments either. There were misunderstandings that ‘A’ was an investor in Burning Sun, but that is not true.”

He continued, “‘A’ was in Korea on holiday but as Seungri was in Nagoya for a concert, he was unable to look after her. So through Mr. Kim, he wanted to introduce her to a female travel companion to shop with her while she was in Seoul.” The police has also conducted an investigation into the acquaintances of Mr. Kim who were introduced to “A” through Mr. Kim. When asked about the text messages stating that men were sent to the hotel room, the lawyer replied, “They were friends ‘A’ brought with her, and it can be assumed that the text messages were referring to sending them to the hotel they’d be staying at.”

The lawyer stated, “The text messages that were reported didn’t include the initial conversation [of finding travel companions] for A. This part was omitted and only the parts that would catch people’s attention were released.”

He also commented on the use of the phrase, “Ones that give it well.” The lawyer stated, “Seungri does not remember this part. They’re messages from three years ago,” and “Seungri does not use language like that. It’s a vulgar expression, isn’t it? We believe he didn’t properly express himself as he was having a celebratory dinner after the concert in Nagoya,” and “Even if the conversation is seen as referring to sexual intercourse, Mr. Kim said ‘I’m calling them but I don’t know if they’ll give it well’ and as the women who were called were acquaintances of Mr. Kim, it can be concluded that the conversation was not about prostitution.”

When asked why they were only now speaking about the contents of the text messages, the lawyer stated, “If Seungri still had the messages from back then, we would have known the facts and spoken clearly from the start. But these were from three years ago and he has no memory of them, and there was no prostitution that took place, so that is why we stated the allegations were untrue,” and “It was only when Seungri was being questioned by the police that he saw the text messages, and it was only after seeing the real names of ‘A’ and the acquaintances Mr. Kim called that Seungri remembered.”

Finally, the lawyer spoke of the text messages exchanged between Seungri and a business partner where they introduced women and mentioned prices. He had spoken about this issue with Sisa Journal earlier but expanded on his answer. He said, “We have the text messages from then. The women Seungri was recommending were not for sexual escort services. The business partner said, ‘I’m meeting the king of Indonesia. Please recommend women who could go with me like they are my wife or girlfriend,’ asking for a woman who could attend various events with him.”

The lawyer added, “It was not for sexual escort services, more like a part-time job of attending a wedding or other events. In the end, Seungri and his business partner went to Indonesia, just the two of them. Seungri had invested 2 billion won (approximately $17,800) through him and was just trying to treat him well to maintain their business relationship and get his investment back.”

Seungri booked and questioned regarding illegal operations of club Monkey Museum

Seungri has been called for his fourth round of questioning by the police.

On March 21, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Provincial Special Detective Divison revealed that they have booked Seungri for charges of violating the Food Sanitation Act and that he was privately summoned for questioning.

Seungri is being questioned for engaging in illegal operations of Monkey Museum, which was a club he established in 2016 in partnership with the former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk. When the club first opened, it was registered as a general restaurant instead of an entertainment bar.

According to Article 21 in the Enforcement Decree of Food Sanitation Law, a general restaurant business is described as a “business of cooking and selling food, where drinking accompanied with meals is allowed.” The document also describes an entertainment bar as a “business of cooking and selling mainly alcoholic beverages, where workers engaged in entertainment may be employed or entertainment facilities may be established, and customers may sing or dance.” It is suspected that the club was registered as a general restaurant instead of an entertainment bar in order for the business to have a lower tax rate.

On March 19, SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” shed light on suspicions about illegal business practices of Monkey Museum, and the outlet argued that despite the illegal operations, the club still managed to bypass the crackdown of the district office. The police are now investigating whether there is evidence of connections to high-rank police officers being used to cover up the criminal activities.

This is the fourth time Seungri has attended a police station for questioning. The first round of questioning took place on February 27 for allegations of providing prostitute services for foreign investors, and the second round took place on March 14 in relation to the same allegations. The singer was also privately summoned for a third round of questioning following reports of the police receiving a testimony from a source at the club Burning Sun that stated that Seungri took drugs.

FNC Entertainment terminates exclusive contract with Choi Jong Hoon

FNC Entertainment has parted ways with Choi Jong Hoon.

On March 21, the agency announced, “To our knowledge, he provided his personal statement regarding this incident at police investigations. The company does not know of the details regarding this.”

FNC added, “The company has shared [updates on] the progress of the situation based on his claims until now, but we decided that our relationship of [mutual] trust can no longer continue due to repeatedly contradicting statements. His exclusive contract has already been terminated.”

SBS reports more details and text messages of Choi Jong Hoon’s attempt at bribing a police officer

SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” has revealed more details into bribery charges made against former FTISLAND member Choi Jong Hoon.

Earlier today, it was reported that Choi Jong Hoon was booked for trying to bribe a police officer who caught him driving under the influence in 2016. SBS has released new details regarding the bribe, along with text messages shared in the group chatroom that included Seungri, Jung Joon Young, and others, that allude to the incident.

According to SBS’s reports, Choi Jong Hoon shared messages in the group chatroom in March 2016 that read, “The chrome hearts [handcuffs] were pretty painful. Anyone who hasn’t worn them before can’t talk,” and “Before he put them on, I offered him 10 million won (approximately $8,850).”

SBS spoke with multiple sources within the police force for more details about the case. According to their report, in February 2016, Choi Jong Hoon was driving under the influence when he saw a police vehicle. He began driving in reverse, and the police officer found this suspicious and immediately stopped him.

When the police officer tried to test him for his alcohol content, Choi Jong Hoon abandoned his car and ran, and the police officer put handcuffs on him to restrain him and stop him from running. In the process, Choi Jong Hoon is said to have offered the police officer two million won (approximately $1,778) and lied about his identity and said he was unemployed.

When a public figure is caught driving under the influence, police officers are required to report to a superior officer, and by Choi Jong Hoon claiming he was unemployed, it can be inferred that his incident was not reported as per protocol.

At the time, Choi Jong Hoon’s blood alcohol content was at 0.097 percent, and his license was suspended and he received a fine, but no bribery charges were made. SBS reports that on March 17, the police officer who was offered the bribe was called in and when he confirmed the bribe had been offered, Choi Jong Hoon was booked on charges of attempted bribery of a police officer on March 21, approximately three years and one month after the incident.

FNC Entertainment has since terminated their exclusive contract with Choi Jong Hoon.

Jung Joon Young placed under arrest

Jung Joon Young has been arrested. He is now the first celebrity to be arrested in relation to “Burning Sun Gate.”

On March 21, Jung Joon Young underwent interrogation at the Seoul Central District Court to determine the validity of an arrest warrant that was requested by the police on March 18.

The arrest warrant has now been issued, following about two hours of interrogation. The arrest warrant is for the filming and sharing of hidden camera videos.

Burning Sun employee Kim has also been arrested after questioning.

Previously, it was reported that Jung Joon Young had filmed and shared hidden camera footage and photos of sexual acts in chatrooms, with other participants including male celebrities (including Seungri and Choi Jong Hoon) and non-celebrity friends. In a letter of apology, Jung Joon Young admitted to filming women without their consent and sharing the videos.

In the chatrooms (which date back to late 2015), the participants allegedly also solicited prostitution, discussed bribing police officers to cover up crimes, and more. In addition, Jung Joon Young has also been reported to have received prostitution services as a gift from former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk and used his ties to the police to get rid of key evidence related to his 2016 case against his ex-girlfriend. It was also reported that Jung Joon Young had been the target of an investigation from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency about hidden camera footage in November 2018.

Seungri admits knowledge of illegal operations of club Monkey Museum

KBS News reports that Seungri admitted to prior knowledge of Monkey Museum’s illegal operations during his fourth round of questioning by the police.

On March 21, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Provincial Special Detective Division booked Seungri on charges of violating the Food Sanitation Act and privately summoned him for questioning on the illegal operations of the club Monkey Museum. Seungri established the club in 2016 in partnership with former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk.

The club was first registered as a general restaurant instead of an entertainment bar when it opened. According to Article 21 in the Enforcement Decree of Food Sanitation Law, a “general restaurant” is a “business of cooking and selling food, where drinking accompanied with meals is allowed.”

In comparison, an “entertainment bar” is “business of cooking and selling mainly alcoholic beverages, where workers engaged in entertainment may be employed or entertainment facilities may be established, and customers may sing or dance.” There are suspicions that the club was registered as a general restaurant in order to pay lower taxes.

Earlier this week, SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” reported on the suspicions of illegal business practices carried out at Monkey Museum and included chatroom messages that showed Seungri was aware that the club’s registration was illegal but said they could bribe the police if there was a crackdown. The police are carrying out an investigation to determine if there is evidence that connections to high-rank police officers allowed the club to bypass a major crackdown.

KBS reports that during questioning, Seungri stated that he was aware beforehand that registering the club as a “general restaurant” when it opened could become a legal issue.

It has been reported that Seungri stated that when they were opening the club, they followed the example of other surrounding clubs that had registered as other types of businesses such as a “general restaurant” or “photography studio.” After this was discovered in a crackdown, it was corrected.

The police say it appears that Seungri and Yoo In Suk conducted irregular business practices, such as installing a separate stage in Monkey Museum and making it so that people could dance.

After reports from surrounding businesses around the time when the club opened in 2016, Seoul Gangnam Police Station booked the person in charge of business at Monkey Museum on charges of violation of the Food Sanitation Act. The club also had to pay a fine of 40 million won (approximately $35,420) for business violations.

Sources: Naver (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17) Law.go.kr, Xports News, KBS News and KBS News on Youtube via Soompi (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Tags: arrest, burning sons, crime, ex-group members, f.t island, jung joonyoung, political news, seungri
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