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Seungri, a former member of popular K-pop boy group Big Bang, has acknowledged his responsibility for crimes to which he had previously pleaded not guilty, and received a reduced jail term, at an appeal court hearing in South Korea. Photo: Yonhap/AFP

Disgraced K-pop star Seungri admits guilt, sees jail term halved on appeal for his part in Burning Sun prostitution and embezzlement scandal

  • The former BigBang star, jailed for three years for charges including facilitating prostitution and embezzlement, acknowledged his guilt to an appeal court
  • The 31-year-old, who had denied eight of nine charges, saw his prison sentence for the crimes linked to the Burning Sun nightclub scandal reduced to 18 months

An appeal court in South Korea has halved the prison sentence of former pop star Seungri after he acknowledged he was guilty of crimes including facilitating prostitution and embezzlement, to which he had pleaded not guilty at his earlier trial.

The disgraced former member of K-pop boy band BigBang is reported to have expressed remorse for his actions in what became known as the Burning Sun scandal, named for a nightclub in Seoul.

In July, military court prosecutors reportedly declared the star had “shown no remorse and shifted blame to other people despite enjoying large benefits from his crimes”.

Born Lee Seung-hyun, Seungri, 31, pleaded guilty to only one of the nine charges he faced at trial in a lower court in August – violating foreign exchange policies related to overseas gambling.

Police take Seungri into custody following a court hearing in May 2019. Photo: AFP
That court convicted him on all counts, sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay 1.15 billion Korean won (US$1 million) in restitution. Following the court’s verdict he was imprisoned pending appeal.

On January 27 the South Korean High Court for Armed Forces announced his jail term would be reduced to 18 months.

Seungri arrives at a police station in Seoul in August 2019 for questioning in connection with the Burning Sun scandal. Photo: EPA-EFE

Seungri’s prosecution and conviction last year followed a series of high-profile investigations into entertainment and business industry insiders for crimes including fraud and sexual assault, many of them linked to the Burning Sun nightclub in Seoul, the South Korean capital.

His trial and appeal took place in military courts because he enlisted in South Korea’s military to perform national service – compulsory for men in the country – while under investigation.