KBS News reports that Seungri admitted to prior knowledge of Monkey Museum’s illegal operations during his fourth round of questioning by the police.
On March 21, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Provincial Special Detective Division booked Seungri on charges of violating the Food Sanitation Act and privately summoned him for questioning on the illegal operations of the club Monkey Museum. Seungri established the club in 2016 in partnership with former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk.
The club was first registered as a general restaurant instead of an entertainment bar when it opened. According to Article 21 in the Enforcement Decree of Food Sanitation Law, a “general restaurant” is a “business of cooking and selling food, where drinking accompanied with meals is allowed.”
In comparison, an “entertainment bar” is “business of cooking and selling mainly alcoholic beverages, where workers engaged in entertainment may be employed or entertainment facilities may be established, and customers may sing or dance.” There are suspicions that the club was registered as a general restaurant in order to pay lower taxes.
Earlier this week, SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” reported on the suspicions of illegal business practices carried out at Monkey Museum and included chatroom messages that showed Seungri was aware that the club’s registration was illegal but said they could bribe the police if there was a crackdown. The police are carrying out an investigation to determine if there is evidence that connections to high-rank police officers allowed the club to bypass a major crackdown.
KBS reports that during questioning, Seungri stated that he was aware beforehand that registering the club as a “general restaurant” when it opened could become a legal issue.
It has been reported that Seungri stated that when they were opening the club, they followed the example of other surrounding clubs that had registered as other types of businesses such as a “general restaurant” or “photography studio.” After this was discovered in a crackdown, it was corrected.
The police say it appears that Seungri and Yoo In Suk conducted irregular business practices, such as installing a separate stage in Monkey Museum and making it so that people could dance.
After reports from surrounding businesses around the time when the club opened in 2016, Seoul Gangnam Police Station booked the person in charge of business at Monkey Museum on charges of violation of the Food Sanitation Act. The club also had to pay a fine of 40 million won (approximately $35,420) for business violations.