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BIGBANG's Seungri Retires From Entertainment Industry

K-pop star Seungri (Lee Seunghyun) of quintet BIGBANG has announced his retirement from the entertainment industry after being booked by Seoul police as a suspect in relation to allegations of the singer supplying prostitution services. The 28-year-old took to Instagram on Monday (March 11) to announce his decision.

“At this point, I think it would be best if I retire from the entertainment industry,” he wrote, translated via Soompi. “I decided on retiring from the entertainment industry as the issues that I caused a societal disturbance with are too major. Regarding the issues that are being investigated, I will be investigated diligently and reveal all the suspicions.”

At the end of January, allegations arose regarding a Seoul club that the star managed reportedly condoning sexual assault and supplying drugged sexual partners to customers. According to Variety, the case picked up again following the emergence of text messages at the end of February. Dating back several years, they allegedly showed that Seungri and several others had discussed supplying prostitutes to potential investors for the club and other business interests of the BIGBANG member. The situation resulted in a widespread investigation into illegal activities taking place in Seoul's club scene, the Korea Herald reported

Seungri canceled a series of concerts following the release of the messages in February, and was questioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in the middle of the month. On Sunday (March 10), Yonhap reported that he was booked on charges of supplying prostitutes after a police raid on a Seoul nightclub, Arena. He reportedly faces up to a three-year jail sentence.

“To secure a warrant for the raid aimed at addressing suspicions, we have booked Seungri as a suspect," a police officer reportedly said. Several other people are also being investigated in regard to the case.

In his post, Seungri also thanked his fans before expressing his retirement as a way of protecting his long term act and the company he started his career with in 2006, writing, "I think this is where I stop even if it’s at least [to protect] the honor of YG and BIGBANG." Seungri ended the post by apologizing and expressing his thanks.

Bloomberg reported that YG Entertainment's stock price dipped as much as 14 percent as the news surrounding Seungri escalated. The company currently also houses the likes of BLACKPINK, Winner, and iKON. Other entertainment companies in the industry, including JYP Entertainment, which features many groups such as TWICE and GOT7, and SM Entertainment, home to numerous acts including EXO and Red Velvet, also saw shares drop.

The news follows ongoing strife for the iconic K-pop group, most prominently rapper T.O.P receiving a suspended prison sentence for marijuana usage in 2017.

BIGBANG has landed two albums on the Billboard 200 in the group's career; in 2012, Alive peaked at No. 150, while Made hit No. 172 in 2016. The group also saw four albums reach the top 5 of the World Albums chart (Made spent a week at No. 1). As a soloist, Seungri has launched two albums into the top 5 of the World Albums chart, including last year's The Great SeungRi, which peaked at No. 3 on Aug. 4

Billboard has reached out to related parties for statements regarding the matter. 

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