A California woman and her husband have been indicted on extortion, conspiracy, and bribery charges after claiming that Celine Dion's husband/manager Rene Angelil raped the woman in a Las Vegas Strip

A California woman and her husband have been indicted on extortion, conspiracy, and bribery charges after claiming that Celine Dion's husband/manager Rene Angelil raped the woman in a Las Vegas Strip hotel-casino in March 2000. A Clark County (Nev.) grand jury handed down an indictment Tuesday and issued arrest warrants for Yun Kyeong Kwon Sung, 47, and her husband, Ae Hoe Kwon, 50, of Pasadena, Calif., court officials said. An arraignment date had not been set.

Sung and Kwon could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the felony extortion charge. Their lawyers, Robert Langford and JoNell Thomas, could not be immediately reached for comment. The case is one thread in a tangle of civil and criminal cases in Las Vegas involving Sung and Kwon.

According to the indictment, they sought $13.5 million from Angelil to drop a criminal complaint they filed in Las Vegas in March 2002. It alleged that Angelil raped Sung two years earlier at the Imperial Palace hotel-casino.

Sung, Kwon, Angelil's lawyer, and an undercover police detective posing as Angelil's representative met in January in Las Vegas, Las Vegas police Lt. Ted Snodgrass said. "She and her husband and their lawyers came in and demanded millions," Snodgrass said. "It's the most clear-cut extortion I've ever seen."

Snodgrass said Sung told the group she kept from police items that could have been used as evidence in the case. Police taped the session by undercover video and audio. Sung and Kwon were arrested afterward, and Las Vegas police closed the sex assault investigation without seeking criminal charges against Angelil. Both were later freed on bail.

David Chesnoff, lawyer for Angelil in the criminal case, could not be reached for comment. Angelil has said he is innocent.

Sung also faces four felony bad check charges in Las Vegas for failing to repay three casino markers for $100,000 apiece and one for $200,000 to Harrah's hotel-casino. She is scheduled to appear before Clark County District Judge Michael Douglas on March 27, with trial scheduled March 31.

The couple also filed a civil lawsuit in March 2002 claiming that Angelil broke an agreement to pay the couple an undisclosed sum to settle accusations that Angelil raped Yun Kwon at the Imperial Palace. A Clark County District Court judge ordered that case back to arbitration in Los Angeles, where the original settlement had been reached.

Lawyer Joseph Hong, who had represented the couple in the civil case, said he is no longer involved in that case.

All of the Las Vegas legal activity comes as Dion is preparing to begin a three-year engagement later this month at the city's Caesars Palace. As previously reported, the show will open March 25, the same day her new Epic album, "One Heart," is released.


AP LogoCopyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print