YG Entertainment founder acquitted of blackmail

SEOUL– Yang Hyun-suk, founder and former head of K-pop agency YG Entertainment, was acquitted Thursday on charges of blackmailing an informant in an attempt to block an investigation into a drug scandal.

The Seoul Central District Court delivered a not-guilty verdict, saying there is insufficient evidence that Yang had blackmailed the whistleblower to inflict concrete and direct harm.

The court also noted the lack of credibility of the informant’s testimony.

“I express respect for the court’s decision,” Yang told reporters following the ruling.

The K-pop guru was indicted on charges of threatening a former trainee who had testified to police in 2016 about drug suspicions surrounding B.I, a former member of YG’s boy band iKON.

The informant, who was apprehended for drug charges, said during police questioning that B.I had purchased marijuana and LSD pills that year.

The informant later testified during a court hearing that Yang had called her to his office and threatened to ruin her career unless she reversed her testimony.

Prosecutors had sought a three-year prison term for Yang, arguing he thwarted an initial investigation into B.I by intimidating the informant.

Yang stepped down as chief producer of the company in June 2019 amid the probe.

B.I was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for four years, in 2021 for purchasing and using marijuana and LSD pills.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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