Seungri under suspicion of having paid off police to cover up business violations
Jun Ko, March 20, 2019, 12:33 p.m.
On March 19th, it was reported that Seungri might have had knowledge of the entrance of a minor in 'Burning Sun' as well as had paid off the police to cover up business violations.
MBC's 'News Desk' reported that the police was contacted by a parent after their child (a minor) entered the club 'Burning Sun' in the early morning of July 7th. Despite the fact that 'Burning Sun' was facing a possible suspension for minor-related violations, the case was suggested to be given a non-indictment. The minor in 'Burning Sun' was not investigated by the police dispatched to the club; the case ended up being closed due to the lack of evidence.
However, 'News Desk' reported that the real reason behind the closed case might not have been due to the lack of evidence, but due to 'Burning Sun' CEO Lee Sung Hyun paying off former police officer Kang 20 million KRW (17,704 USD) to cover up the violation. The accusation of a coverup was backed by evidence: a phone conversation between CEO Lee Sung Hyun and Mr. Lee (who delivered the money) that was revealed back on early November 2018. Additionally, the recording of the phonecall proved that Seungri held knowledge of the entry of a minor into 'Burning Sun'.
But a legal representative of Seungri's responded that Seungri had only heard of the event after the incident had occurred and that CEO Lee Sung Hyun and Seungri were not in a relationship of reporting to each other. 'News Desk' continued onto report that the police are currently analyzing the recording of the phone call and investigating Seungri on the grounds of having interfered with the case.
In addition to 'News Desk' reporting on Seungri's potential tampering with a case, SBS' '8 o'clock News' reported about the illegal business practices of Seungri's 'Monkey Museum'. It was reported that the club 'Monkey Museum' had been registered as a retail store, rather than a drinking establishment; the accusation of such is backed by a Kakaotalk conversation between Seungri and his acquaintances.
Kim: "It's illegal to have a stage or dancing, but you're good at working flexibly."
Park: "It's illegal, but it's hard to have sanctions against it, so everyone's just staying silent."
Seungri: "It means that we don't really have a problem. If they crack down, we'll slip them some money."
On the same day, SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” shed light on suspicions about illegal business practices of Seungri’s other club Monkey Museum which he operated before Burning Sun.
Seungri had registered Monkey Museum as a retailer and not as a drinking establishment at the borough office. At the time of the opening of Monkey Museum, a conversation took place in the KakaoTalk group chatroom amongst Seungri and his acquaintances.
Mr. Kim said, “It’s illegal to having dancing or a stage, but you’re good at working flexibly,” and Mr. Park added, “It’s illegal, but it’s hard to impose sanctions against it, so everyone’s just staying silent.” Seungri then responded, “It means that we don’t really have a problem. If they crack down, we’ll slip them some money.”
Opening a bar in that space was prohibited because Monkey Museum was located in a residential area. Seungri, however, carried out his business with illegal practices and recorded sales of 500 million won (approximately $442,460) on opening day.
Despite its illegal operations, Monkey Museum bypassed the crackdown of the borough office. From March 2016 to August 2018, it was penalized once for business violations with a fine of 40 million won (approximately $35,372). It received light punishments for violations of the Food Sanitation Act where employees failed to undergo health screenings and for the lack of price indications.
SBS also pointed out that despite the fact that videos of people dancing on stage at Monkey Museum had circulated online, the police had failed to properly crack down on the violations.