Seungri opened up about the controversies surrounding him in an interview with Chosun Ilbo that was conducted on March 22 and published on March 23. He spoke on a number of topics including Burning Sun, prostitution service allegations, and connections to Senior Superintendent Yoon.
When asked why he wanted to do the interview, Seungri said, “To be honest, I don’t think I’m in the position to come out with a strong stance or say I am suffering from unfair treatment. I have acted in a way that is unsuitable for a public figure, and I became tied to wrongful businesses. However, I feel like what is reported right now is too far from the truth. I want to talk about the truth I know, and help the situation.”
Asked if the “Wrongful business” he was referring to was Burning Sun, Seungri said yes and explained how the misconception that he owns arose. He said, “I think it’s because I said in ‘I Live Alone’ and other programs that ‘I run all of my businesses and I’m the feet on the ground for them.’ The club and the hotel [investor Le Meridien] both wanted to attract a younger crowd, as well as foreigners, so my name and image were used in promotions, which probably helped fuel the misunderstanding. I enjoy being a DJ so I didn’t think it was a bad idea at the time, and because it was a club run at a hotel, I didn’t think anything bad would happen.”
Explaining that he met Lee Moon Ho, the CEO of Burning Sun, five years ago while at Club Arena, Seungri said, “CEOs Lee Sung Hyun and Lee Moon Ho were in charge of everything from management to finances and employees. I’ve never been to a meeting for Burning Sun, nor have I received a list of employees or calculated their wages. I really was just the face of the club. All I did was lend my name and invest 10 million won (approximately $8,800) through Yuri Holdings.”
He said that he had never been briefed about illegal activities in the club, such as minors entering or people using drugs, and he was confused when he later learned about the allegations of date rape drugs and sexual assault videos as well. Regarding the allegations of tax evasion Burning Sun faces on top of all the other charges, Seungri said, “If they did do that, then I’m also a victim as a shareholder. I didn’t know anything, all I did was promote for them.”
When asked why he initially said the text messages he shared in the group chatroom with Jung Joon Young were fabricated, Seungri replied, “They were from 2015. How can you remember text messages from three years ago? I really couldn’t remember them. I couldn’t believe I would say something like what was being alleged. None of the conversations had time stamps, and no context. I truly believed they were fabricated.”
When asked about the allegations of prostitution services, Seungri replied, “In the Club Arena case, it’s regarding a woman from Singapore called Kimmy. She’s the daughter of a famous soccer club owner. I’ve received a lot of help from her, so I just wanted to look out for her.” He denied, as did his lawyer in a previous interview, that the women who were invited were prostitutes.
With regards to the controversy alleging prostitution mediation on a trip to Indonesia, Seungri said, “I had invested two billion won (approximately $1.8 million) through him and hadn’t received it back. I needed to be on his good side. He asked me to introduce someone to accompany him on a visit to king of Indonesia. He said he wanted to set aside some spending money for his companion and asked if 10 million won would be enough. I repeated the amount to ask for clarification, and that’s it. But then he later told me he’d figure it out himself and just canceled.” Seungri added, “I never ended up getting my investment back. I pressed charges against him in 2015 but he threatened to take the story to the media, so I had to cancel my charges.”
About knowing Senior Superintendent Yoon, who is accused of using his position to help cover up crimes, Seungri said, “Yoo In Suk introduced him to me as a ‘good person.’ I was just told that he worked at the Blue House, so we had a meal together. We met a total of four times after that till last winter. We never talked about clubs, he liked to talk about history. I didn’t even know he was a police officer. He didn’t know BIGBANG but said he started listening to BIGBANG songs after knowing me. Choi Jong Hoon golfed with him but I never did. There was never any bribery going on. Even when Yoo In Suk tried to pay for meals, he’d get angry and say he’d get in trouble so he paid for everything himself.
He also responded to questions of why he or any of the other people in the chatroom never reprimanded Jung Joon Young for the illegal videos he was posting. Seungri said, “Those messages aren’t my entire life. Of course I asked him to stop. When we met offline, I told him to stop and said he’d be in big trouble. I said that to all of them, not just Jung Joon Young. It was just never through text conversations.”
Finally, Seungri ended the interview by saying, “My only hope is that the investigation and results are seen with an objective eye. These days, people are tying everything from YG to Choi Soon Sil, BIGBANG, Kim Hak Ui, Hwang Kyo Ahn, and others. But I’m just a celebrity. I don’t know those people at all. This was a situation that occurred at a club, but people are tying it to politics and creating a completely new narrative and that’s scary. I’m confused. I’m just telling the truth, and I’m helping with the investigation as much as I can. I just wish things will calm down until the investigation is over and people will see what’s going on with an objective eye.”
Seungri said, “I am so apologetic to the fans and public, my former agency YG, and my teammates who have been with me for over 10 years. No matter what the outcome of the investigation, I believe I will bear this for the rest of my life. I will reflect. Seeing how my wrongful actions from a few years ago have caused such a big situation, I find myself so pathetic and shameful. I hope everything is resolved soon so the public will no longer be inconvenienced.”