As the Burning Sun scandal continued to escalate into an issue of national relevancy, SBS investigative journalism program ‘We Want To Know‘ (‘The Its Know‘/’I Want To Know That‘) began taking tips a while back with an aim at looking into the case deeper. Known for their doggedness and credibility due to not only solving previously unsolved cases but also just providing a thoroughness and detail that even authorities don’t provide, the public anticipated what they had to say about this and it was recently broadcast.
There’s quite a lot of stuff that was covered, and since the show was transcribed by somebody watching a recording instead of doing individual articles that may pick out bits and pieces, it was more comprehensive but also elongated. So for the sake of brevity/sanity, I’ve excluded the stuff that has already been covered previously.
The episode of ‘We Want To Know’ starts by looking at Seungri‘s lavish birthday party in the Philippines at Amanpulo Resort that allegedly involved sex workers and drug use but was subsequently denied by his side.
– Party goer at Seungri’s birthday party: It’s true that Seungri rented the resort. There were over 100 people that went so a lot of money was used.
— Interviewer: Did it cost over a billion won? (~$1 million)
— Party Goer: I would think so.
— Party Goer: His birthday party was the center of it all but his investors were there as well so you could say it was a special kind of a party.
– It was his 27th birthday party and a place to have meetings with important business partners.
– There were guests that stood out as well.
– Seungri shown saying on video, “From Indonesia, Jakarta, XXX. The most famous actress.”
— Reporter: Yang Hyun Suk didn’t go, right?
— Party Goer: Yes.
— Reporter: Is there anyone from YGE that went?
— Party Goer: Yes, there was. Just one singer and their manager came and had fun and left. There was someone named Kim XXX. They said s/he was a celebrity but I didn’t know.
— Reporter: Is it by chance this new actor/actress? (Shows picture)
— Party Goer: Yes it is.
– During those two nights and three days, it was the VIP guests that Seungri paid the most attention to.
— Dispatch journalist, Oh Myung Ju, “They consisted of the wealthiest and most famous celebrities from various Asian countries. It was confirmed that in attendance was the son of Person A, a famous politician and wealthy person from Hong Kong. So were others from Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Singapore.”
— Dispatch journalist, Oh Myung Ju, “Our first tip came from those that worked in adult entertainment establishments. In other words, we received a tip that room salon females also mobilized. That room salon females were called to attend a celebrity’s birthday party. It was a bit shocking because, in effect, this was the first time this was confirmed as being true.”
– On the guest list there are nine females listed under Seungri’s guests. It is assumed that these women are 10% (top tier room salons) from an adult entertainment establishment in Gangnam. There were also claims that these women were also involved with sexual entertainment at this party. During this investigation we were able to confirm that these nine women did exist in real life.
— Gangnam Adult Entertainment Person: “They said that they were paid and went to go have fun. You can’t really say they were invited for no reason. Because girls that do this kind of work need to make money. Usually when they go with sponsors they usually receive 5 million won. (~$5,000)”
– Two months after the party, Seungri began a new business in the basement of the five-star hotel, Le Meridien.
Okay, so the lavishness of the party isn’t scandalous at all, as obviously Seungri can do whatever he wants with his money. However, they do connect room salons to this party (essentially sex work) and tracked down the women involved, which appears to run counter to earlier denials.
The more salient point is that important people were in attendance and it was a success as a place to meet people. Seungri seemed to make a lot of connections there, which the show ties with the opening of his business and the club stuff to follow.
— Former Burning Sun Employee B: “In the case of China, there is name value to ‘Seungri.’ So a lot of Chinese guests would come. When they spend money, they really spend money. From what I’ve personally witnessed, I think I saw someone spend 200 million won (~$200,000) in one day.”
Emphasis is placed on the high-class nature of the clientele, which matters later.
Additionally, the show talks about the origins of the club.
— Reporter: “The man named Lee Sung Hyun, he didn’t go did he?”
— Party Goer: “He came.”
— Reporter: “Oh really? Lee Sung Hyun?”
— Party Goer: “Yes.”
— Reporter: “Lee Moon Ho?”
— Party Goer: “Yes.”
— Dispatch journalist Oh Myung Ju, “It’s absolutely true that the birthday party happened and it was confirmed that there was a meeting explaining the business. It became known that they went and explained the business model themselves as well as gave a briefing about the business. Club Burning Sun was registered in November and Seungri’s birthday party was the same year in December. And the club opened the next year in February. You could say the (birthday party) was a club Burning Sun team building party or meeting.”
– We began investigating Burning Sun in early January. Because it is an issue that has a famous celebrity involved, we were very cautious and careful in gathering out information for three months. We couldn’t immediately believe only one side. It was also very hard for us to convince the informants. A lot of time was also put into fact checking via multiple ways, the many tips we received.
After establishing how the club was planned, ‘We Want To Know’ talks about how careful they were with the story, probably due to everything that follows.
Burning Sun has been under fire from the start of this for alleged involvement in facilitating sexual assault/rape, and the connection of the club and staff to those crimes have only gotten louder of late. After ‘We Want To Know’ asked for tips, they say they received over 350 of them and have tracked down multiple victims who are now speaking out. Just as important as the allegations themselves and the victims coming forward is the police’s apparent apathy for pursuing the claims.
– We have received approximately 350 tips about Burning Sun up until now. Out of these tips, there were many that resembled Kim Sang Kyo’s case. That there were problems with Burning Sun, but the police acted strangely.
– One tipster stated they were sexually assaulted by staff at Burning Sun.
— Burning Sun Sexual Assault Victim: “‘Didn’t you bring it upon yourself because you’re wearing tight fitting clothes like that?’ That’s what they said and it seemed they were really annoyed. They said, ‘Just write up a statement.'”
— Burning Sun Sexual Assault Victim : “(The police that arrived at the scene) said if I wanted to report it to give them a call and gave me a number. I called that number (a few days later) but they didn’t answer.”
— Burning Sun Guest: “Some guy, a young guy on the 1st floor asked to drink in his room, so I followed him. As soon as you go up to the 2nd floor there is the ‘Hip Zone.’ Next to that is a wall. But then that ended up being a door. It’s a black wall and its totally just the wall.”
– This glass room is also known as the VIP room. A video of a female being sexually assaulted was also filmed here and distributed.
— Burning Sun Guest: “As soon as I went (into that room), a female was laid out on the sofa, and a guy was on top of her. His face was buried in her breast area, but as soon as he saw me he moved away. I called 112 right away and two hours after that, I was already home, but I got a call from an unknown number. They asked if I had made a report and stuff.”
– The reporter and Burning Sun Guest decide to call the police to confirm the details.
— Police: “I think you may have reported it to 119 at that time.”
— Guest: “Oh, I did?”
— Police: “If I look here it says we got the request from 119. When 119 went to check it out, [the guy that was in the room] said it was his girlfriend or something and that it wasn’t [sexual assault]. So it seems the [report] was cancelled.”
– When looking at the file submitted by the police, it shows that the agency that went to the site was 119. The police didn’t go to the site.
— Burning Sun Guest: “If she was passed out by herself I would have (called) 119. But a guy was attached so I thought that it should be the police.”
– Different from the police’s explanation, the informant is sure she had called 112. When confirming the informant’s phone records, it showed that she had definitely called 112 that night. The police didn’t even show up at the site despite a report of possible sexual assault. We sent in a formal request asking why they chose to do so, but the police still haven’t given a reply.
[Translator Note: 112 is for the police, 119 is for fires and ambulances.]
— Guest: “She was completely unconscious.”
— Reporter: “So she didn’t just simply over drink, right?”
— Guest: “Not at all. That’s why I reported it. Over drinking happens often so I would have just let it be. It wasn’t that. She was really a corpse.”
— Former Burning Sun Employee C: “Even we’re able to tell if a person is high on drugs or drunk off of alcohol. People high on drugs don’t resist and they’re there like they’re dead. Then the club security guards take them away in a car. They basically move them. It’s probably right to say that it’s a bit unethical.”
– According to Burning Sun employees, there were occasionally sexual assaults from usage of “roofies”, otherwise known as GHB.
— Professor Han Duk Hyun, Joong Ang University, School of Psychiatry: “It works in a similar way to the receptors in which alcohol works. So eventually if it is consumed by mixing it with alcohol, it’s about anywhere from 5-10 times more effective. If the amount is too much a person can convulse and then the most dangerous thing is that it could cause one to stop breathing.”
The show managed to get victim confirmation of the sexual assaults alleged to be taking place at Burning Sun, and they also found guest and employee witnesses that paint a picture of that kind of thing being commonplace at the club, which certainly appears to support everything else that’s been reported about the culture existing there.
Just as relevant is that they also expose the police as complicit, as they either brushed off and/or discouraged victims who did want to report, or they simply didn’t bother investigating, which was proven through phone records in one case. It is amazing then to think back to club CEO Lee Moon Ho questioning where the victims were in his interview, because as expected, there are a ton of reasons they don’t come forward or things never go public.
‘We Want To Know’ then tackled the incident where a minor was allowed into Burning Sun, which a former Burning Sun CEO admitted led to him offering money to a now-arrested former police officer on charges of bribing the Gangnam police to look past it.
– An incident that is said to have disappeared without a trace. It happened last year, July 7 at 2 AM. It was hard but we met directly with the people that were underaged at that time.
— Shim, who entered Burning Sun as a minor: “I most likely sent the money on July 6. About 18 million won (~$18,000). Then on July 7 we went to Burning Sun at 1 AM and put on the entry bracelets. We stood outside and then entered.
— J, Shim’s friend: “That day there was a student that studied abroad and someone we weren’t on good terms with ever since we were young. He saw him (Shim) and called (Shim’s) mom.”
– Shim’s mom came to Burning Sun right away and reported to the police that minors had entered Burning Sun. At that time, Shim, who had pulled out 26 million won (~$26,000) from his mom’s account, used it to pay for alcohol.
— Shim, who entered Burning Sun as a minor: “Two security guards from Burning Sun dragged me out and held me outside. I was squirming so two more came out and eventually about six people were holding me. Then an ambulance came after a few minutes and they tied my hands behind my back and we left right away.”
Okay, ‘We Want To Know’ actually managed to talk directly to the minor and his friend to get their side of what happened. But also, I have to gawk at the amount this minor was throwing around. Geez.
Anyway, the show then talks about the police involvement, or lack thereof until after Burning Sun management showed up to meet Shim and his friend.
– Although Shim’s mom reported minors going in, even during the time everything was being taken care of, the police had still not shown up.
– It wasn’t the police that showed up before Shim’s friends like they had expected. Instead it was Burning Sun’s CEO, Mr. Han.
— J, Shim’s friend: “He just came and told me that it was all agreed upon with the police. If they contact you guys just tell them like this. He said if we didn’t then the compensation for damages would have to be paid by us which was about 4 billion won (~$4 million). He said if we were contacted by any chance, that if we said what he told us to say it would be over because they had agreed upon it already.”
– The police didn’t speak to Shim but to his friends and ended it as clear of suspicion.
– When looking at the files submitted by the police, the report about Shim and minors entering is conveniently missing.
Shim and his friend say it was odd that the Burning Sun’s CEO got to them before the police, and that the CEO threatened them to tell a false story to police when they came, revealing to them that they basically made a deal with police already.
In response, Burning Sun CEO Han denied collusion with the police taking place and explained his version of the exchange with the boys, eventually admitting that he did ask them to give a false statement.
— Han, Burning Sun’s CEO: “There was no such thing. We really didn’t want to collude with the police which is why they had me. I have a lot of experience dealing with this and that. I know how to take care of things depending on the situation. For example, if we got caught doing something illegal we would try to take care of in a legal matter. Police collusion? I don’t know any policemen. I’ve been working 10 years but I don’t know anyone. I told them, when you go to give your statement tell them that we looked at your driver’s license, but it was [fake] so we accidentally let you in. I did say that this was the way we could live and they could live.”
— Reporter: “And you’re admitting that this was very much a lie?”
— Han, Burning Sun’s CEO: “Yes. I admit that I gave a false statement.”
– Han admits that he asked Shim and his friend to tell a small lie to the police.
— Kim Jimin, lawyer: “If that was the case then those minors must be charged for a false statement. Eventually it’s either a violation of the Youth Protection Act or it’s an act of giving a false statement. One of the two has to be charged.”
– Usually cases with minors is handled by the Women And Adolescents Department. But Shim’s case was handled by the Gangnam police’s Minor Crimes Department.
— Police officer, part of the team in charge of the case at that time: “Ah, it’s fine. Please leave. I have nothing to do with it. Do that officially and hurry and leave. Originally you’re not able to come into this area.”
— Gangnam Police Executive: “Is it okay for you to go around without any manners and to film? Why don’t you ask what happens when you film without permission? If it’s against the Communications Act or not. That’s turned on right now, isn’t it? Let’s see if it’s turned on. Let’s see. Let me see. Why are you … I said let me see.”
— Reporter: “Why are you touching it?”
— Gangnam Police Executive: “It’s interesting and I was curious. As a citizen, I’m also curious. Why did you come here?”
[Translator Note: The police’s attitude is VERY hostile.]
Difficult to see a reason why the minor and his friends would lie about the exchange in question, but easy to see why the Burning Sun CEO and police would fudge things a bit, even other than what the CEO just admitted when pressed. Most importantly, it casts a suspicious light on the police based on how this was handled.
The show then dives even further into the alleged police corruption side of things and the Mr. Kang that was arrested in connection with bribery allegations in connection with Burning Sun.
– The person that would hand money over to Mr. Kang (former police detective) was Burning Sun co-owner, Lee Sung Hyun. He also worked as an executive direct at the hotel that Burning Sun was located in. While assault between guests are taken care of by the parties involved, entry of minors was completely the fault of the club. The club could be closed down for a month and it could also hurt the image of the hotel.
– 50% of Burning Sun shares are owned by the hotel and Lee Sung Hyun. Though Seungri was known as an owner to the public, in reality he didn’t have any shares. But the company he was co-owner of, Yuri Holdings, did hold 20% of the shares.
– So was it the hotel that tried to cover up happenings along with the help of the police? The hotel stated that they only invested, and had nothing to do with police collusion. They also stated that they relieved their executive director, Lee Sung Hyun, from his position.
Not much new, but noteworthy that the hotel was questioned but denied any involvement.
The show then somehow got to talk to Mr. Kang himself a few days before he was arrested.
— Informant: “The person involved feels it is a bit absurd and he’s taken aback by it. He would like to meet either early in the morning today, or very late at night. The place he would like to meet is near Seocho IC. He will meet you at XXXX hotel in one hour.”
– We weren’t given the details of the location until very close to the meeting time. After waiting for quite a while, a man escorts us. He’s a person that has been hiding in the hotel away from the public eye. He wants to explain the absurd situations that he’s been put into and wants everyone to know the truth. It ends up being the former policeman, Mr. Kang, who is accused of helping Burning Sun pay off the police.
– Mr. Kang states that he wants to tell our team everything before he gets arrested. A few days after our interview, he really is arrested.
— Mr. Kang, former detective: “Honestly, I wasn’t able to sleep for two nights because of this. There isn’t a single thing released in the media that is true.”
– Mr. Kang states that he never received any money nor was he asked for any favors from Lee Sung Hyun. The person that contacted him was someone totally different.
— Mr. Kang, former detective: “It was Choi XXX, a dongseng that’s more like my nephew. He would contact me, asking if I could look into it. Just think about it with common sense. I’m like his uncle … Would I really say, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this for you so give me money.’?”
– Mr. Kang said a close dongseng from his hometown had asked him for a favor, and just like he said, all he did was look into it.
— Person Involved With Burning Sun: “Choi XXX is originally part of the Monkey Museum family. Monkey Museum crew. He worked with us since Chungdam Monkey Museum. They’re all close with Seungri so that’s why that Choi XXX looked into it.”
– The person that contacted Mr. Kang was part of what is called the Monkey Museum crew. (Pictures of Choi XXX, Seungri, Lee Moon Ho) The members that helped manage Seungri’s last business, Monkey Museum, were called Monkey Museum crew.
— Person involved with Burning Sun: “Burning Sun was birthed by Monkey Museum. The Monkey Museum crew went to the Philippines (resort) as well, and they are the true owners of Burning Sun.”
— Choi XXX: “I passed along information for them. Like, this and that happened. They asked if I knew anyone so I let them meet and introduced them to my uncle. I connected them and told them to just ask him. I can’t say who it is, but if you look into it you’ll know right away who it is.”
— Mr. Kang, former detective: “I received a text that said that they are working on it on their side too. Asking if I knew anyone at the Gangnam police. So I asked a close hyung, but he said it was weird. That [the case involving minors entering Burning Sun] first went to the Women And Adolescent Department, but then it went way over to the Criminal Affairs Department. He said that he didn’t know what was going on. Or why it was sent to where it was.”
— Reporter: “For the minors case?”
— Mr. Kang, former detective: “That’s right. So I came to know it a LONG time later. A long long time later.”
— Reporter: “Before you did anything.”
— Mr. Kang, former detective: “That’s right.”
— Reporter: “You’re saying it was already taken care of?”
— Mr. Kang, former detective: “It was basically systematically planned already by someone extremely high up.”
— Mr. Kang, former detective: “And what’s important is that I didn’t know about Yuri Holdings. When the Burning Sun incident exploded, why did [Yuri Holdings] contact me and ask me to look into it?”
– Mr. Kang suspects that the people holding hands with the police is Yuri Holdings.
Mr. Kang is claiming that he didn’t receive money, which I guess is his defense against bribing anybody, but more importantly says that it wasn’t the Burning Sun CEO who came to him at all. Rather, it was his nephew-like person Choi, who connected him to the Monkey Museum crew and led him to believe Yuri Holdings were the ones with the police connection. Mr. Kang essentially suggests that he might just be the fall guy.
From there, the show then recaps the chat where Yoo In Suk allegedly handles the Choi Jong Hoon drunk driving incident through senior superintendent Yoon, and summarizes the officer’s relationship with the group. Then it transitions into addressing Yuri Holdings and who exactly owns Burning Sun, with emphasis on somebody referred to as Madam Lin.
– Burning Sun Shares
— 42%: Hotel (energy business)
— 8%: Lee Sung Hyun
— 10%: Lee Moon Ho (Seungri’s friend)
— 20%: Yuri Holdings
— 20%: Foreign investor
– Foreign investor is Madam Lin, from Taiwan.
— “She’s the real big wig named Madam Lin. She doesn’t only spend money on her tables, but she even orders alcohol for other tables too.”
— “You can’t even mention her name in Taiwan. Her husband is the level of a prime minister in Taiwan.”
— Former Burning Sun Employee: “The VIP room used to really cost a huge amount of money in the past but these days those kinds of (guest) don’t use it that much. The room is isolated from the stage, you know. There is a different location where a lot of money is spent.”
– The tables nearest to the DJ’s booth is the most expensive. At Burning Sun it is those that sit at table 6, 7, 12, 13 that are considered VIPs.
– Madam Lin usually booked the tables through a Chinese person living overseas, known as her manager. She would book two tables for one night and spent a lot of money.
— “She’s probably the first person in Korea to spend 200 million won (~$200,000) on one table. It started at 200 million won and is probably listed on the electric display there.”
— “She has so much money and she has no greed for money.”
— Former Burning Sun Employee: “The level she was at, was very big. Like triads. She would even bring the boss. You know the three famous gangsters? Yakuza, mafia, triads? The triads. She once brought the boss of the triads.”
– If you look at the footage from the night when two Mansour sets were ordered, there are certain men that are near Madam Lin. Former employees believe they were triad members from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
— Someone involved with Burning Sun: “Burning Sun is located near the hotel lobby. Cars are usually not allowed to park at the main entrance. But for them, they would.”
— Reporter: “Who are ‘they’?”
— Someone involved with Burning Sun: “I heard they were her family. We would even place cushions on stainless chairs. They were scary. We were all very nervous that night. Please make sure this isn’t revealed (who he is) until I’m in my grave.”
– People involved with Burning Sun believe that the money Madam Lin invested was from the triads. In other words, Madam Lin was using Burning Sun to launder black money.
– Madam Lin did an interview with a Taiwanese fashion magazine (Elle). Big Bang’s signatures appear on a luxury handbag. She said in this magazine, “I met them at a Chanel party. A friend came and made an intro and I even shook hands with GD. This unexpected meeting led me to have a friendship with Seungri as well.”
‘We Want To Know’ identifies Madam Lin as the foreign investor in Burning Sun and explains that she is apparently the major player in this and has ties to organized crime. Furthermore, it’s suspected that the money Madam Lin used to invest was dirty money from said organized crime and she was laundering it through the club. That is a significant detail and one that would expand this case far beyond even the current significant scope of things.
Many people made a big stink about the G-Dragon mention due to one oddly-worded report, but it’s nothing substantial on the show, described mainly as just a chance meeting between him and this Madam Lin.
Remember the original SBS report about Seungri’s alleged prostitution for favors mess that happened in the Arena club? Well it’s explained that the guest from Taiwan was Madam Lin, who brought supposed gangsters to the club, and those gangsters were who the prostitutes were for. Somehow the show got into contact with the manager of Madam Lin to ask about the scandal, though the answer wasn’t much. The show then mentions how Seungri hyped her up at his birthday party and the reason behind that.
– It was hard but we were able to speak to Madam Lin’s manager who was always around her.
— Madam Lin’s Manager Mr. A: “Alleged sexual entertainment is receiving the most suspicion right now. Questioning whether that’s us or not. But we’ve already spoken to the investigating team about that.”
— Reporter: “Did the investigation team call in Madam Lin and investigate her?”
— Madam Lin’s Manager Mr. A: “No, no they didn’t do that.”
— Reporter: “Is Madam Lin in Korea?”
— Madam Lin’s Manager Mr. A: “Madam Lin is simply an investor only.”
– Video of Seungri’s birthday from last November where he says, “Next our Madam Lin. Madam Lin!” Out of all the people he invited, he’s very open about how thankful he is to Madam Lin.
— Party goer at Seungri’s birthday: “Madam Lin’s side did come.”
— Reporter: “Just by looking at the situation, who do you think was the top of the VIPs? The person they spent the most fretting about?”
— Party goer at Seungri’s birthday: “There are 3 teams. Madam Lin’s group is important too.”
– At least 50% of the shares of Burning Sun are allocated to Seungri’s side (Madam Lin, Yuri Holdings, Lee Moon Ho).
— Ban Ki Hong, accountant: “Usually when investing it’s normal to participate as a shareholder. But Seungri didn’t invest directly and it was through Yuri Holdings.”
— Lee Moon Ho, Burning Sun co-CEO: “Originally Seungri didn’t have money. Madam Lin (invested) a billion won (~$1 million). Seungri and I, how do you say it … we were like the ‘qualified talent.’ Because of that we were given shares for free.”
— Reporter: “Then Yuri Holdings didn’t actually invest any money.”
— Lee Moon Ho: “Yes. There was none.”
— Reporter: “So because of Seungri, they just received the shares.”
— Lee Moon Ho: “Yes.”
— Reporter: “What was the reason Madam Lin didn’t give the 20% shares in Seungri’s name but instead to Yuri Holdings?”
— Lee Moon Ho: “There isn’t a special reason. XXX Ramen and the various F&B businesses were all put under Yuri Holdings. All I can say is that it was very natural for it to be that way.”
So as it turns out, neither Yuri Holdings nor Seungri actually invested any money into Burning Sun for their ownership share, according to the show, but it actually was given to them by Madam Lin.
Speaking of the people behind the scenes of these companies, other investors into Yuri Holdings were looked at next. Specifically they talk about BC Holdings and the $30 million dollars that was previously referenced by the National Tax Service as being investigated because it seemingly came out of nowhere.
– Most of Seungri’s business was done through Yuri Holdings. Like Aori Ramen and the restaurant started with Choi Jong Hoon. Seungri recently was dismissed as the CEO of Aori Ramen.
— Ban Ki Hong, accountant: “There is a Hong Kong company called BC Holdings, which is connected to Yuri Holdings. Yoo In Suk is once again an executive director at BC Holdings. BCH Peregrine Partners LLC received financing from BC Holdings, and they tried take over a certain company with a private equity investment.”
– BC Holdings, which is involved with Yuri Holdings, invested approximately 33 billion won (~$33 million) into BCH Peregrine Partners LLC and made big news in Korea. (Picture showing that Yuri Holdings received ~$33 million in funding in 2017.)
– It was found out that BC Holdings was started in Hong Kong by Seungri, Yoo, and the CEOof a Korean consulting firm. The ordinary shares of BC Holdings was only 300 Hong Kong Dollars (~$50). So who invested approximately $30 million in them?
– Out of the investors is the son of a Vietnamese real estate tycoon (Tan). His father gifted Seungri a luxury apartment worth more than 1.1 billion won (~$1.1 million). He was also present at Seungri’s Philippines birthday party.
— Yoo In Suk acquaintance: “CEO Yoo was the Vietnamese branch manager or something. Nemo Consulting or something. He said so himself, that he had a crazy house in Hanoi, Vietnam.”
– In the past Yoo had worked as the branch manager for a consulting company. It’s analyzed that his father was living in Vietnam and growing his son’s network. (Picture of a news article that says ‘Father is a famous business man in Vietnam.’)
– Another player with BC Holdings is a Japanese businessman.
– MBC ‘I Live Alone’ – Episode 274 – December 28, 2018 – Seungri mentions his special relationship with the Japanese businessman on the broadcast. — Seungri: “Mr. XXX of XXX. It is Seungri. Thanks to the you and you cheering me on, I was once again able to gather strength this year. I am always very thankful to you.”
– It is known that this owner of a famous Japanese construction company would continuously invest large sums of money in businesses that Yuri Holdings would start. Of course, receiving funding is not a problem. If that method is correct.”
Basically it was odd for a company like Yuri Holdings to attract such wealthy investors. The show names as supporters a Vietnamese real estate tycoon’s son and a Japanese businessman that’s the CEO of a construction company (huh).
As the show says though, receiving investments aren’t a problem as long as that’s all they are. So they delve into where the support for the business came from, and this connects back to a previously reported tip from an informant regarding providing prostitution to a Japanese businessman.
– KakaoTalk Chat
— Seungri: “XXX (Japanese business) Chairman is coming today.”
— Jung Joon Young: “Seungri, it seems he’ll have to go to XXX (a club in Gangnam)”
— Seungri: “From 8 to 4 in the morning.”
— Jung Joon Young: “Okay, so I just need to tell the girls to come by. 8, right?”
— Choi Jong Hoon: “Seungri, XXX (female actress) says she’s in New York.”
— Seungri: “Noona went to New York again?”
— Choi Jong Hoon: “These fucking actresses are always abroad when they’re not working.”
– (Clip of Seungri talking about how he spends quite a lot of money on “entertaining” on ‘I Live Alone’.)
— Yoo In Suk acquaintance: “He made a playground of sorts. Within that playground is a seesaw or a slide. He knew exactly what was inside that ‘playground.’ He knew, so the fact that he played there means he ‘used’ that place fully aware.”
– The informant that knew Seungri and CEO Yoo for a long time believes that they opened Burning Sun to get their investors to open their wallets.
— Former Burning Sun employee: “But Seungri’s acquaintances always came. Of course there were Korean acquaintances too, but a lot of Chinese acquaintances came often as well. Partners involved with Seungri’s businesses came all the time.”
– Tried to meet CEO Yoo and Seungri but they couldn’t meet them. Tried to reach out to YG Entertainment but there was no way. But then Seungri replied. (Shows a text from Seungri asking who they are.)
— Text from Seungri: “I’m in no situation to say anything right now, but I believe it is a crime to ignite a crime itself. To release information from a personal phone without permission, and manipulate public opinion by presenting it as a public service announcement. Some unknown lawyer then interviews and says he reported it to the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission. The Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission protects whistleblowers, but that whistleblower goes public and even does interviews. And an entertainment journalist goes on SBS’s main news program and won’t even properly state where they got the files from. They report on things for their own advancement without even confirming the truth. People like us are with agencies so we can’t object or react to the media freely. They know we don’t have the power to say this is true and this isn’t true. I think they abused this to a certain extent.”
– KakaoTalk Chat
— Seungri: “XXX (Japanese business) Chairman’s guests are coming so I think I should hold a separate party for them.”
— Seungri: “Look into finding out if there are any pretty girls that can speak Japanese.”
— Park: “Okay, I’ll look into it. Good, good.”
— Jung Joon Young: “(Smiley Face)”
— Yoo In Suk: “We’re making ‘The Great Gatsby’ film.”
— Yoo In Suk: “This time our mission is to make it so that these Japanese will text us next week asking if they can come again next week.”
— Yoo In Suk: “Really, let’s call out all the girls we know.”
— Yoo In Suk: “To the point there are no girls in the clubs.”
— Yoo In Suk: “So that that guy hate us because there are only guys in the clubs.”
– It was confirmed these friends and business partners (Seungri, Jung Joon Young, Park, Kim, Yoo In Suk) would book restaurants and find girls to come along with them when foreign investors would come to Korea.
– Seungri and CEO Yoo state that their words were just jokes. But why did the chatroom only make such jokes when foreign investors came?
The show paints a convincing picture about how the “jokes” about providing women to investors happen to coincide with when they have to entertain big-time foreign investors, which ties those involved with the club further to prostitution suspicions.
‘We Want To Know’ then tries to get to the bottom of the money involved, eventually getting to the topic of tax evasion.
– KakaoTalk Chat
— Seungri: “Anyway, on April 6, XXX Chairman, XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX, and the Chinese partners will all be gathering and having a shareholders meeting. Don’t embarrass me and make sure you dress appropriately.”
— Choi Jong Hoon: “Okay. Thank you, hyung. Buy me a lot of yummy food too.”
— Kim: “Yes, CEO.”
– The above conversation was two months after Yuri Holdings was set up. It seems to be the names of their investors. It included the BC Holdings CEO, a famous Japanese construction company owner (Chairman), and the son of the Vietnamese estate tycoon.
– Another woman known as a shareholder is a woman that used to work as a celebrity in Korea. She’s a Singapore citizen and is the daughter of a famous soccer team (Valencia FC) owner. Thanks to her father she is also very rich. It is found out that she has been good friends with CEO Yoo for a long time. Another man mentioned in the chatrooms is this woman’s younger brother, who is also very wealthy.
– KakaoTalk Chat
— Kim: “It’s finally out, fuck. I’m so touched. ㅜㅜ”
— Choi Jong Hoon: “It’s finally out. <3”
— Kim: “Man, I’m going to cry, fuck. Our business license came out today so XXX Chairman can transfer the funds right away.”
— Seungri: “The Chairman has already given money to my Japanese company. I’ll send [the money].”
— Ban Ki Hong, CPA: “Basically, if there are no such returning benefits than a person won’t invest. First there is the idea that profits are shared based on how much was invested. The second is that that you have the qualifications to exist within this community.”
– They usually invested in the food and beverage markets. The recently started ramen franchise has a total of 48 stores in the country.
— Ban Ki Hong, CPA: “I think Burning Sun was a tool to attract investment. First off the percent margin is high. And furthermore, there are a lot of cash transactions, which are easy to cash out. It’s commonly called a cash cow. The percent margin for franchises isn’t very high.”
– To get to know about club finances, we spoke to a man that worked at a club in Gangnam since early 2010.
— Former Gangnam club employee: “Our club wasn’t that big, but when it [opened] it cost about 1.8 billion won (~$1.8 million). For like the interior and equipment and such. The company that sponsored us was XXX’s (actress) management company at that time. It says here Shinsadong, and that’s the dividends for that sponsor company. This is how much we wired them every month.”
– The informant stated that they borrowed money in order to open the club.
– This club that was only a quarter of the size of Burning Sun would make close to 500 million won (~$500,000). It shows that this month the investor took, approximately 50 million (~$50,000), which was taken in cash.”
— Former Gangnam club employee: “For this too, we purposely paid him out a little less.”
— Reporter: “So from this Shinsadong (investor) person’s point of view, their investment can be written off as an expense, but their profits won’t be because they are receiving it in cash.”
— Former Gangnam club employee: “That’s right.”
– This club was also set up like Burning Sun with multiple CEOs. Out of this list there is a Mr. Park that used to be in a co-ed group. They say Mr. Park, who performed as a singer in the early 2000’s, used the club often to entertain his business partners.
— Former Gangnam club employee: “They also ‘played with money’ at casinos in Vietnam, with Chinese people.”
— Reporter: “Private loans?” (Usually gangsters do this with interest rates as high as 50%.)
— Former Gangnam club employee: “Yes. It’s things it like that where they get funding from too.”
— Former Gangnam club employee: “They say that celebrities are doing ‘culture’ business, and that Seungri is doing it and he’s young and such … but that’s not it at all. It’s just about money. It’s a stepping stone.”
– Those that worked at Burning Sun for more than three months say that the earnings of the club were incredible.
— Former Burning Sun employee: “Basically Burning Sun would make about 150 million won (~$150,000) a day. Net profits, even if they had a bad night…”
— Former Burning Sun employee: “What I personally saw was one table spend 200 million won (~$200,000) in one night.”
– They say most wealthy guests of Burning Sun use cash. So did the minor, Shim.
— Shim, entered Burning Sun as a minor: “I deposited it from the bank. So they probably received it right away.”
— Reporter: “The 18 million won (~$18,000), right away?”
— Shim: “Yes. I pulled it out in cash.”
— Club alcohol supplier employee: “Stuff like Armand De is high end. They probably definitely sold it. But in cash. Even if you were to do a business, do you think such rich people would ask for a cash receipt? Especially there. There’s definitely credit card sales. You could say that it’s almost entirely just credit cards sales that are reported. In the end its tax evasion.”
– Although it cannot be confirmed, but Burning Sun employees believe that it’s close to three billion won a month (~$3 million).
People basically explain how the clubs work, saying that for the investors they can use the club as a way to double dip by writing off their input as expenses but getting profits back in cash. The same goes for the club itself, who have so many people paying in cash that they don’t have to declare. That is tax evasion of course, but the cash aspect of it makes it hard to catch, even if Burning Sun employees claim it could’ve been upwards of $3 million a month.
CEO Lee Moon Ho disputes that claim, saying a tax evasion scheme like that never happened, but the show then speaks to an accountant, who is skeptical.
— Lee Moon Ho, Burning Sun co-CEO: “Not even once did that happen. If you check the the tax returns you’ll see. That never happened.”
— Reporter: “Can we see your accounting files?”
— Lee Moon Ho, Burning Sun co-CEO: “I’ll get [the accountant’s] contact and send it to you.”
– Lee Moon Ho states that there are no grounds for tax evasion and sent files to counter the claims.
— Kim Kyung Ryul, accountant: “Oh I can do this right away. Credit card sales is about 1.5 billion won (~$1.5 million). If you add cash, transfers, and credit charges (IOUs, basically), it’s about 670 million (~$670,000). So it’s 1.4 billion won to 670 million won. The ratio is 7 to 3.”
— Reporter: Can we assume that there is a large chance that at least 30% was left out?”
— Kim Kyung Ryul, accountant: “Of course because it would show that they gave cash receipts here. This, this, and this (cash, transfers, credit) need to have had cash receipts. But there’s only 29 million won (~$29,000). And the National Tax Service online network shows that it is the same as what was shared.”
Despite everything that’s happened with this scandal, it’s a wonder nothing has really progressed legally. Well, the show wondered why that might be as well.
– Burning Sun closed down 10 days before its one-year anniversary. During the scandal and as Burning Sun closed, the only thing the police came up with is finding the distributor of the VIP room rape video.
– To add on, the information in regards to a high-level police officer working with CEO Yoo of Yuri Holdings was found out by the media and not the police.
Then the infamous chat in which Seungri calls Korean laws ‘shit’ then comes up, and the show looks for answers as to how his crew have been able to evade serious repercussions.
— Former Burning Sun employee: “I believe they could have been involved with government officials. Because I’ve never seen the fire department ever do a fire inspection. When I worked in Hongdae I saw them a lot.”
— Former Burning Sun employee: “We even received a notice to stop doing business. But right away a week later we were opening our doors. It was through Mr. Kang. Mr. Kang ordered 2 million won (~$2,000) worth of XXX Hotel’s sauna certificates to be purchased. I purchased it and then delivered it to address given to me, which was the house of a government official.”
– The policeman that would take care of any problems that arose in the club would take 2 million won (~$2,000) every month. When it was bigger issues he would take up to 5 million won (~$5,000). The last name of that policeman was Kang.”
— Reporter: “Is this by any chance, Mr. Kang?”
— Former Gangnam club employee: “Yes, I think so. He was a bit thinner at that time. Oh yes, this is him.”
— Reporter: “You worked there until 2012. This person was sacked in 2011, by any chance…”
— Former Gangnam club employee: “But the ‘government expense’ continued to be paid out. I’m sure he continued to work as a broker.”
– (A file is shown that shows amounts of two million and five million won stated as ‘government expense,’ which was in reality payments to Mr. Kang.)
– Mr. Kang, who was known as the night-time troubleshooter in Gangnam.
— Mr. Kang, former detective: “Honestly it’s been a long time since I quit being a detective and the laws change. So from my point of view, it is true that I looked into it for them.”
— Informant: “I used to be at XXX club. There are detectives within the Gangnam police that owned shares (in our club). So the detectives wouldn’t arrest those people, because they needed to be compensated (for their investment).”
— Someone involved with clubs: “We paid the police regularly. When something came up or little issues, we would pay them again separately. The pretext was that it was for an employee dinner outing. For Burning Sun’s case, I heard they pay a lot more.”
— Club MD: “For example, Chinese chaebols or kids with a lot of money will be sentenced to death for drugs. And how many people know this? So they would use this as an excuse as make sales.”
Alright, so ‘We Want To Know’ now links government officials to helping the people involved with the Burning Sun scandal avoid scrutiny and employees claim money was regularly being paid out to Mr. Kang to be a problem solver before and after he was fired from the force. The show also features claims that things run even deeper than that, saying that some police are invested in the clubs themselves, which would almost be an impressive level of corruption.
To close the story up, ‘We Want To Know’ talks to the informant that blew the case open by providing Jung Joon Young’s phone.
— Jung Joon Young phone informant: “It was way beyond typical guys talking about dirty stuff. I thought it wasn’t just a crime, but a really serious crime and decided to [report] it. As the Burning Sun situation blew up, collusion with the police, cover up of drunk driving, and prostitution allegations, I thought I needed to make sure the world would find out about it.”
— Bang Jung Hyun, lawyer: “Celebrities keep using their popularity, their money/economic power to earn authority. This was a systematical problem that the world needed to know about it so there could be change. Otherwise there would be a second and third generation of power like these groups that would keep growing. So we thought we had to sound the alarm.”
– Once the informant’s information about police involvement was released, the police commissioner promised a clear investigation. But the first place they went to was the forensic company involved with Jung Joon Young’s cell phone recovery.
— Kim Jimi, lawyer: “Instead of search and seizing Jung Joon Young’s house or things like that, they search and seized the forensic company first. It’s a bit weird. Honestly there’s no reason for the police to search and seize it again. The prosecutors already had [the evidence]. So they could have just said that they had it, but to allow them to seize that place again seems like their intention was to find the informant. It’s completely possible to have such suspicions.”
The informant now says she (which is news) regrets reporting it because she worries about herself and her family.
— Jung Joon Young phone informant: “Honestly if everything were to play out exactly as it is right now, how I’m feeling now, if I had the choice I don’t think I would have reported it. The reason is because the people around me are having a really hard time. It’s true it’s difficult for me too. But the fact that those around me are also suffering makes it very very very agonizing for me. After this exploded there was system of protecting informants within the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission. I think it would be better if they had a more special protection system.”
– From the words of the informant, it seems that there is nowhere that can give her that kind of protection. As we were looking into this broadcast, our team also faced very similar worries.
— “By any chance, can you protect me from something happening to me? What if the other side asks for the information to be shared? What if they asked who informed?”
— “My friends that informed are all being sued. They’ve gone silent, and it’s just insane.”
Yeah, well if I blew a case of this magnitude open or was a witness or was investigating it, with the ties being uncovered here, it’s a legitimate worry.
Burning Sun is unsurprisingly apparently not alone in this mess, as club Arena has been under suspicions as well, with a Chairman Kang being mentioned in particular.
— Park Chang Min, reporter who has been looking into club Arena for a long time: “Club Arena has a lot of things that happened there. But many people involved with the night life and in surrounding areas have said that Arena barely had any crackdowns.”
– There are suspicions that Chairman Kang, known as the big fish of the Gangnam night life, is the true person in charge of Arena. An employee in charge of finances gathered up the courage and reported Chairman Kang’s tax evasion to the National Tax Service.
— Park Chang Min, reporter: “The National Tax Service, Department 2, investigated his taxes starting from 2018 March until July or August. It was reported to the prosecutor’s office, and the prosecutors transferred it to the police. So it’s being investigated now.”
– 26 billion won (~$26 million) in tax evasion, but unlike expected, the prosecutor’s office didn’t investigate it. Instead it was transferred to the Gangnam police, which is the same district in charge of Arena.
— Park Chang Min, reporter: “It can’t be properly investigated because there is only one detective investigating it. But when it’s about ~$26 million in taxes being evaded, this is not a case that can be investigated by the Gangnam police. When looking at the investigation process, there are doubtful aspects of it.”
So Arena also appears to be avoiding legal problems through some network of favors from people involved in the government, who surely know Gangnam police’s lack of credibility/reliability at this point and gave it to them on purpose. Just a matter of wondering how far up the chain it goes.
Police have a history of going after those whistleblowing on this scandal, dating back to the original SBS reporter, the lawyer who originally got the evidence, and the informant themselves. It shouldn’t be surprising then that ‘We Want To Know’ found themselves in a similar situation.
— This is a statement sent to us two days ago. It is a statement from a lawyer representing two police officers who currently work at the Gangnam police. “We sincerely request that during the airing of the program, you are careful so that there is no defamation against the assigned policemen.”
– It seems these are the police that Mr. Kang had contacted in regards to getting information for the entry of minors at Burning Sun. I also believe it is the first time we have ever been contacted by the police in so many different manners while producing a show. If no crime was committed, there is no need to be afraid either.
Nothing serious yet, but one can kinda get the hint about how authorities are going about intimidating people involved, which definitely comes off like they’re worried of something being uncovered.
As always, it’s important to note that for now the new revelations revealed by ‘We Want To Know’ is just a media report. Granted it’s from an extremely credible source and they’ve already provided receipts that others have yet to find (like the police), so any rebuttal would have to come with receipts of their own.
So that said, at least in this moment, the report is obviously rather disturbing in what it alleges, exactly how far this scandal could expand, and how high it could be connected.