SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - 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 (May 27) on one of South Korea's leading broadcasters Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
It was alleged that 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 in connection with the 1MDB scandal - and a man from Thailand, in July 2014.
Low is wanted by the authorities for his role in the scandal in which US$4.5 billion was allegedly embezzled from state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. His spokesman yesterday said Low, who met Mr Yang through South Korea rapper Psy, "was never involved in, nor aware of, any conduct of the kind alleged in the MBC Straight report".
Twenty-five women, including more than 10 prostitutes from an adult entertainment establishment with close ties to YG, and eight men were with Yang, according to a witness who spoke on the TV show.
YG Entertainment, which is considered one of the "Big 3" entertainment companies in South Korea, has denied the allegations and called them "groundless".
Successful K-pop acts like BigBang, Blackpink and Winner all hail from YG.
A well-known singer affiliated with YG and Hwang Ha-na, 31, granddaughter of Namyang Dairy Products founder Hong Doo-young, were part of the gathering, a reporter on the Straight team said in a radio interview.
"The wealthy people who attended the gathering at that time were from abroad. They needed a person who could interpret English and get on well with them naturally. Hwang was from the US, so she was invited to some (of the gatherings,)" the reporter told the radio.
Hwang, the former fiancée of K-pop star Park Yoo-chun, was indicted on suspicion that she sold and used methamphetamine in 2015, 2018 and early this year.
The reporter also mentioned a Madam Chung, whom he claimed has close ties to Yang as well as politicians and tycoons, as having supplied prostitutes to the dinner gatherings.
In Monday night's episode, Straight aired an interview with a woman who claimed that she was raped by a Thai man.
The man, who was accompanied by an executive of a YG subsidiary YGX, raped the woman at the club Burning Sun owned by former Big Bang member Seungri and had been investigated for the allegation, according to the TV show.
The police dropped the rape investigation, the TV programme said. They have assured that the case will be investigated to determine the facts, if necessary.