SEOUL • Fugitive Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, has been implicated in a burgeoning scandal in South Korea where sexual services were allegedly arranged by YG Entertainment head Yang Hyun-suk for foreign investors during dinner parties, according to an investigative TV programme.
The programme, called Straight, aired late on Monday on one of South Korea's leading broadcasters, Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation.
It was alleged that in July 2014, Mr Yang hosted dinner parties and procured prostitutes for two wealthy investors - Low, a Malaysian fugitive sought by the authorities in Malaysia, Singapore and the United States - and a man from Thailand.
Low is wanted for his role in a scandal in which US$4.5 billion (S$6.2 billion) was allegedly embezzled from state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad. His spokesman yesterday said Low, who met Mr Yang through South Korean rapper Psy, "was never involved in, nor aware of, any conduct of the kind alleged in the MBC Straight report".
A total of 25 women, including more than 10 prostitutes from an adult entertainment establishment with close ties to YG Entertainment, and eight men were with Mr Yang, according to a witness who spoke on the TV show.
YG Entertainment, considered one of the "Big Three" entertainment companies in South Korea, has denied the allegations and called them "groundless". K-pop acts such as BigBang, Blackpink and Winner hail from YG.
A well-known singer affiliated with YG, and Ms Hwang Ha-na, 31, the granddaughter of Namyang Dairy Products founder Hong Doo-young, were also part of the gatherings, a reporter on the Straight team said in a radio interview.
"The wealthy people who attended the gatherings at that time were from abroad. They needed a person who could interpret English and get on well with them naturally. Ms Hwang was from the US so she was invited to some (of the gatherings)," the reporter added.
Ms Hwang, the former fiancee of K-pop star Park Yoo-chun, was indicted on suspicion that she had sold and used methamphetamine in 2015, last year and early this year.
The reporter also mentioned a Madam Chung - whom he claimed has close ties to Mr Yang as well as politicians and tycoons - as having supplied prostitutes for the dinner gatherings.
The Straight episode also aired an interview with a woman who claimed she was raped by a Thai man. The incident allegedly took place at the Burning Sun club owned by former BigBang member Seungri. The man was under investigation, according to the TV show, but the police later dropped the case.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK