Singer-actor Lee Seung-gi sues executives of former agency for alleged fraud, embezzlement


He learnt recently that his former agency has been withholding part of his advertisement modelling fees. Photo: Lee Seung-gi/Instagram

South Korean singer-actor Lee Seung-gi has sued the executives of his former agency for alleged fraud and embezzlement.

This was according to a statement released by his lawyer on Thursday (Dec 22), who said that Lee filed the lawsuit at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on the same day.

It was revealed in November that the 35-year-old had not received any payments from his then agency Hook Entertainment for the digital downloads or streaming of his songs, despite releasing 137 songs since his debut in 2004.

“Just as it has been reported in the press a few times, Hook Entertainment has been hiding the truth about the profits from Lee Seung-gi’s music for the past 18 years and did not pay him for it,” said the statement, according to a translation by South Korean entertainment website Koreaboo.

“Regarding this, we have sued Hook Entertainment’s chief executive Kwon Jin-young and the executive directors for violating the act for specific economic crimes (occupational embezzlement) and specific economic crimes (fraud).”

Lee reportedly nullified his contract with Hook Entertainment as of Dec 1. He also learnt recently that the agency has been withholding part of his advertisement modelling fees.

The statement continued: “He thought that about 10% of his fees as a model for a few years was provided to the advertisement company as ‘agency fees’, but in truth, the previous and current directors had not given it to the advertisement company and shared a portion among themselves instead.”

Lee raised the issue with the agency, which admitted its faults and paid Lee about 630 million won (RM2.17mil) in delayed fees.

The statement also said he did not reach an agreement with Hook over the music payments. However, the agency transferred 4.81 billion won to Lee on Dec 16 without any prior notice and filed in court claiming the elimination of debts between both parties.

“The above settlement amount remitted unilaterally by Hook Entertainment is also different from that of the one that Lee Seung-gi is aware of,” said the statement.

“He will hence respond to the claim for the non-existence of debt and file a counterclaim to claim unpaid fees for music and damages for their illegal activities.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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