The report stated that 44 people ranging from chaebols to celebrities were uncovered to have taken part in this illegal activity, which involved 65 counts of trade violations in the amount of 138 billion KRW (~ 126 million USD), revealing some names, such as Lee Soo Man, who dealt with multiple buildings in Los Angeles, and actress Han Ye Seul, who purchased a building in LA’s Koreatown.
SM Entertainment denied wrongdoing by Lee Soo Man, and Key East Entertainment did similar for Han Ye Seul.
In relation to this, SM stated to Xports News on January 12, “Following the legislation in relation to his local subsidiary at the time it was established overseas, the headquarters completed all the reports on this foreign direct investment. In addition, regarding the local subsidiary in America that we invested in jointly with Producer Lee Soo Man, both the headquarters and Producer Lee Soo Man completed all the reports following the legislation in relation to overseas direct investment.”
SM assured that this was not an illegal acquisition of the overseas building in question, rather a simple mistake involving the omission of a report of change, and that after grasping the omission of the report of change after checking the management system, the headquarters immediately gave a voluntary report to the Financial Supervisory Service.
Han Ye Seul’s side likewise addressed the report. Her agency Key East Entertainment stated that the problem had been a delayed report because they had not been able to fully understand the rules, but assured that her building had not been obtained through illegal means.
On January 13, the agency said through an official statement, “Han Ye Seul says that the illegal acquisition of her building overseas reported through the news is not true,” explaining that she purchased the building under her name in 2011, then moved the ownership through the means of “contribution in kind” to a company in which she held stocks for the smooth maintenance of the building. The agency stated there were no legal problems, and that she chose to do this because she was so busy in Korea that she wouldn’t have been able to maintain the building personally. There were no other motives, just a desire to assure the smooth maintenance of the building.
The agency also apologized for the misunderstandings, inconvenience, and their past failure to fully comprehend the rules, leading to the delay in their report regarding the building.
So basically the same “oops I didn’t know” stuff as Song Hye Kyo, and though it’s ultimately their responsibility, it’s also naive to believe rich people handle their own finances. While this is certainly bad for both, the fact that chaebols got caught up in this along with them sort of lessens the importance of the celebrity aspect of it.
In any case: