Seungri is currently facing a whole battery of allegations, ranging from providing prostitution to tax evasion to involvement in police corruption, but unlike other members of the group chat with Jung Joon Young, he is the only public figure to push back. That continues today, as his lawyer did his job in an interview and denied all allegations of providing prostitution and using drugs.
Seungri’s lawyer started by addressing the most recent allegation, which emerged through an MBN report about further allegations of facilitating prostitution as well as overseas cocaine use (first reported as drugs by TV Chosun).
On March 20, MBN’s “News 8” reported that police had secured testimony that there were escort services or prostitution mediation at Seungri’s 2017 birthday party, which took place in the Philippines, and they had also secured testimony that Seungri had used cocaine overseas.
The lawyer pushed back against the report, adding to a previous denial of cocaine use by saying the informants had malicious intent. Additionally, he talks about the texts that had emerged, saying they were out of context.
Lawyer Son Byung Ho, Seungri’s legal representative, spoke with News1 for an exclusive interview on March 21 and stated, “Those reports are untrue and we will take all necessary measures, whether it involves a cross-examination with the informant or the use of a lie detector.” He added, “We feel the reports around the prostitution and drug use reports only center around claims made by malicious informants. We feel frustrated and that this is unfair. The text messages being reported on have portions that have been omitted, causing misunderstandings that are different from the truth.” He had previously denied the allegations that Seungri had used cocaine.
Sure, witness testimony can be flawed and Seungri had tested negative for drugs before. So even though it’s just the word of his lawyer, it’s fair to wait and see on the MBN report.
The primary thing I’ve wanted to see Seungri’s side address was the original SBS FunE reporting. Challenging exclusives from others that have mainly added to the SBS reporting is one thing, but challenging the journalists who have been confirmed to have seen the source material is another. Thankfully, his lawyer speaks on that next, saying the alleged investor was simply a friend and the chats weren’t about prostitution at all.
The lawyer also spoke on the allegations that Seungri had mediated prostitution that were reported on in February. He said, “The reports say Seungri spoke to Mr. Kim to prepare a place at Club Arena and invite women for ‘A,’ who is from Taiwan, and her party,” and “The ‘A’ here is a long-time (female) friend of Seungri and is Singaporean. She has no connection to Seungri’s businesses whatsoever, and her occupation has nothing to do with investments either. There were misunderstandings that ‘A’ was an investor in Burning Sun, but that is not true.” He continued, “‘A’ was in Korea on holiday but as Seungri was in Nagoya for a concert, he was unable to look after her. So through Mr. Kim, he wanted to introduce her to a female travel companion to shop with her while she was in Seoul.”
Okay, so Seungri’s lawyer is claiming that the woman identified as an investor was just a friend, and he wasn’t trying to provide women to her associates in exchange for an investment but rather just wanted to introduce her to somebody to shop with and stuff.
If reading that caused you to pause and say “Wait, what?”, well you aren’t the only one. I went back to see what the texts in the report were to see if they could be interpreted the way Seungri’s lawyer claims.
Seungri: Kim, do everything Investor B asks. Prepare Arena main seats 3 and 4. Looks like a client from Taiwan has come. Call *** and help him.
Kim: Which girls could I call now. Chinese, omg. Anyway, I’ve prepared the seats. I guess B is the only woman.
Yu: And Kim, make sure B doesn’t mingle with other people.
Kim: I’ll be right next to her.
Seungri: Do it right, Kim. And don’t make any mistakes.
Yu: Someone who can accommodate B, someone who can’t speak English. People like Mr. Lee (current Burning Sun representative).
Kim: We prepared two main seats and sent security too. We’ll take good care.
Seungri: Okay, how about the girls? Ones who give well.
Kim: I’m calling them now but I don’t know if they’ll give. They’d give if it were you guys, lol. Anyway, I’m calling the cheap ones. Wow … the size …three of them are bigger than me. Anyway, I called ** (girl). They’re apparently Taiwanese gangsters.
C: Chinese people like girls who look like they had a lot of plastic surgery.
Seungri: Anyway, do a good job.
Yu: I’m preparing prostitutes now so when the two prostitutes come, Kim, lead the way and help them get to the hotel. Two is enough right?
Kim: Yes. I’ve sent the two gangsters.
I dunno, man. Not sure there’s a context that makes any of it sound like a discussion about shopping partners or anything of the sort.
When the language they used is brought up to Seungri’s lawyer, he specifically says that SBS excluded a part about travel companions for the supposed friend earlier in the convo.
The police has also conducted an investigation into the acquaintances of Mr. Kim who were introduced to “A” through Mr. Kim. When asked about the text messages stating that men were sent to the hotel room, the lawyer replied, “They were friends ‘A’ brought with her, and it can be assumed that the text messages were referring to sending them to the hotel they’d be staying at.” The lawyer stated, “The text messages that were reported didn’t include the initial conversation [of finding travel companions] for A. This part was omitted and only the parts that would catch people’s attention were released.”
Okay, so let’s say you believe that they’re talking about giving the men who came with the supposed friend female guides to their hotel room and that’s it. And let’s also say you believe it’s true that there was a section before the revealed texts that show them discussing travel companions despite that there’s no receipts on that. Still, how does he explain the language regarding prostitution, and specifically the part about providing women who will have sex?
He also commented on the use of the phrase, “Ones that give it well.” The lawyer stated, “Seungri does not remember this part. They’re messages from three years ago,” and “Seungri does not use language like that. It’s a vulgar expression, isn’t it? We believe he didn’t properly express himself as he was having a celebratory dinner after the concert in Nagoya,” and “Even if the conversation is seen as referring to sexual intercourse, Mr. Kim said ‘I’m calling them but I don’t know if they’ll give it well’ and as the women who were called were acquaintances of Mr. Kim, it can be concluded that the conversation was not about prostitution.” When asked why they were only now speaking about the contents of the text messages, the lawyer stated, “If Seungri still had the messages from back then, we would have known the facts and spoken clearly from the start. But these were from three years ago and he has no memory of them, and there was no prostitution that took place, so that is why we stated the allegations were untrue,” and “It was only when Seungri was being questioned by the police that he saw the text messages, and it was only after seeing the real names of ‘A’ and the acquaintances Mr. Kim called that Seungri remembered.”
Okay, so basically only being confronted with receipts jogs his memory, apparently. Seungri’s lawyer is claiming that his client generally remembers he definitely didn’t do any crimes, and specifically claims that there was an omitted section prior to start of the revealed convos. However, when pressed on why the specific language used in the texts looks so incriminating, he claims he doesn’t remember all that despite the fact that clarifying it could go a long way to believability. Their side can’t have it both ways and expect people to believe them.
Honestly, I’m not sure how this defense is supposed to convince anybody exactly, and I know I’m not alone because even his lawyer can’t effectively explain how it makes sense at some points. Then again, perhaps convincing people isn’t important at this point, and he just wants to keep his client out of jail by trying to create doubt, which is fair enough, I guess.
The lawyer concludes with explaining the Sisa Journal story of overseas prostitution and gambling again.
Finally, the lawyer spoke of the text messages exchanged between Seungri and a business partner where they introduced women and mentioned prices. He had spoken about this issue with Sisa Journal earlier but expanded on his answer. He said, “We have the text messages from then. The women Seungri was recommending were not for sexual escort services. The business partner said, ‘I’m meeting the king of Indonesia. Please recommend women who could go with me like they are my wife or girlfriend,’ asking for a woman who could attend various events with him.” The lawyer added, “It was not for sexual escort services, more like a part-time job of attending a wedding or other events. In the end, Seungri and his business partner went to Indonesia, just the two of them. Seungri had invested 2 billion won (approximately $17,800) through him and was just trying to treat him well to maintain their business relationship and get his investment back.”
Okay okay okay, let’s say you somehow believe all of this and he wasn’t involved in prostitution and didn’t do drugs, despite all the holes in their explanation. Still, I’m not sure how anybody is supposed to defend him.
The content of the texts themselves going unchallenged and therefore the existing reality of Seungri’s participation/membership in the group chat is honestly enough. All the rest of this is just trying to do public relations and keep him out of jail, which is the lawyer’s job and one he might be successful at, but the morality aspect of all this is still settled at this point in time even if the legal stuff isn’t.
So I’ll continue to follow Seungri’s case, but honestly, the thing to focus on going forward is how deep this scandal goes.