Famous Boy Band Member Faces Charges for Gambling Millions in Vegas

  • Seungri was formerly a member of Korean boy band Big Bang
  • He is facing gambling charges along with ex-head of former band’s music label
  • The two men are facing allegations of gambling millions in Las Vegas
  • Gambling overseas is in violation of South Korea's Foreign Exchange Transaction Act
boy band members of Big Bang performing on stage
South Korea police are set to question Seungri (center), the former member of hugely popular boy band Big Bang, in relation to overseas gambling charges. [Image: commons.wikimedia.org]

Ex-band member and former music label CEO involved

Police in South Korea are planning to summon Seungri, a former member of the massively popular boy band Big Bang, over gambling charges. Yang Hyun-Suk, the former CEO of the band’s music label YG Entertainment, is also set to receive the same summons. Big Bang is one of the best-selling boy bands globally in history. 

The charges relate to both men allegedly partaking in and receiving money from gambling overseas, which is an offense in South Korea. The accused were booked by local police at the start of August for being in violation of the country’s Foreign Exchange Transaction Act.

allegedly partaking in and receiving money from gambling overseas is an offense in South Korea

The two allegedly spent a lot of time gambling with millions of dollars in Las Vegas casinos, for which they will be facing interrogations in the coming days. The exact time and date have not been disclosed, with police still reviewing the subpoena documents relating to these charges. 

An exit ban has been put in place on both men to prevent them from leaving the country while the investigation is under way.

Band’s music label premises searched

A search was carried out at the YG Entertainment headquarters in Seoul on August 17. There is also an ongoing investigation into whether or not Yang was misusing corporate funds to contribute to his gambling funds when in the likes of Las Vegas. 

The two men had purchased casino chips using large sums of cash. There was no record of this money having being wired from South Korea.

The Korean National Police Agency has officially requested a copy of the bank account data of YG Entertainment USA from the Department of Treasury in the United States. 

The initial suspicions relating to these gambling charges came after the US Treasury Department informed authorities in Korea that the two men had purchased casino chips using large sums of cash. There was no record of this money having being wired from South Korea. 

A history of transgressions

Before getting into the management side of the music industry, Yang was himself part of the popular nineties boy band, the Seo Taiji and Boys. It was in June that he resigned from his CEO position at YG Entertainment over drug charges relating to some of the artists represented by the label.

Yang was also in trouble with the law in 2014, when he was booked by police for providing sex services for foreign investors in Seoul. Similarly, Seungri was caught up in a sex scandal and subsequently kicked out of his band in March.