The normally wholesome world of K-pop has been rocked by a sex scandal after one of its biggest boyband stars was charged on suspicion of supplying prostitutes to foreign investors in night clubs.
Lee Seung-hyun, 29, referred to by his nickname Seungri, and who was once described as the “Great Gatsby of Korea” for his lavish lifestyle, on Monday announced his retirement from the entertainment industry to fight the charges and protect his management agency and band, Big Bang.
“As this social scandal is too big, I decided on my retirement. As for the ongoing probe, I will take the investigation seriously to clear all the allegations,” he said on his Instagram account.
“I give my heartfelt, sincere thanks to fans at home and abroad who gave their love for the past 10 years,” he continued.
For over a decade, the five members of Big Bang have been considered K-pop royalty. They have been credited as one of the most influential acts to shape the East Asian country’s music industry and spread popular Korean culture around the world. Since their 2006 debut, they have sold more than 140 million records.