Founder and former head of South Korean talent agency YG Entertainment Yang Hyun Suk was reportedly sentenced to a six-month prison term and one-year probation, according to several Korean media outlets.
According to a report by AllKpop, the Seoul High Court issued the judgment on Wednesday, Nov. 8, reversing the previous decision of a lower court that had acquitted Yang on charges related to the alleged blackmail of public interest informant and former trainee Han Seo Hee.
Additionally, Mr. Kim, a former managing associate at YG, was also sentenced to four months in prison, along with a one-year probation period.
The verdict reportedly came as a result of charges against him for trying to pressure the ex-trainee into retracting her police statements to obstruct a drug scandal investigation involving B.I, a former member of YG’s boy band iKON.
Han had previously testified to the police in 2016 concerning the iKON member allegedly purchasing and consuming illegal drugs.
In the ruling’s discussion, AllKpop quoted the court’s statement, “The prosecution lodged an appeal, purporting the victim’s statement was credible. Nonetheless, the amendments to the indictment involved a forced interview with Yang Hyun Suk, hampering the defendant’s right to defense.”
The court also clarified that a proven threat would only be valid if the victim experienced a particular form of harm as a result.
“The victim’s account fluctuated significantly, and if there were portions she only recalled mid-investigation, it is difficult to assert that the alterations in her statement were wholly natural,” read the court’s statement.
It continued, “The prosecution failed to yield tangible evidence, making it a challenge to substantiate their allegation of harm under undisclosed circumstances.”
The court acknowledged that the charges against Yang Hyun Suk for arranging a forced meeting or using coercion could have potentially caused psychological distress and pressure.
As they concluded their ruling on Yang Hyun Suk and Mr. Kim with a deferred sentence, the court emphasized, “As the representative of YG, he misused his social status and wielded authority over B.I through reprimands, and as a result, he has been found guilty.”