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(LEAD) YG Entertainment chief vows full cooperation with investigations

Entertainment 11:42 March 22, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with stock price in para 13, outcome of shareholder meeting at bottom)

SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- The chief of the management agency of BIGBANG and other K-pop stars said Friday he will faithfully comply with the authorities investigating its suspected tax evasion and an alleged sex-for-favors scandal involving a former BIGBANG member.

Yang Min-suk, chief executive of YG Entertainment, made the remarks to reporters before attending the company's regular shareholder meeting in Seoul.

"I take those cases very seriously. (I) will faithfully cooperate with the relevant authorities in charge of investigations," Yang said.

The National Tax Service launched a tax evasion probe into YG Entertainment earlier this week, amid the police's widening investigation into the sex-for-favors scandal involving Seungri, a former member of BIGBANG.

Yang Min-suk, chief executive of YG Entertainment, speaks to reporters before attending his company's regular shareholder meeting in Seoul on March 22, 2019. (Yonhap)

Last week, YG Entertainment ended its contract with the 29-year-old singer, who was being investigated for allegedly arranging sexual services for potential investors for a nightclub in southern Seoul.

The criminal allegation also led to the shocking revelation that singer Jung Joon-young shared videos of him having sex with women on a mobile group chat room that included Seungri.

Yang told reporters he wishes the ongoing investigations will reveal the truth clearly.

"I hope I will have a chance to speak on additional positions and future plans when comprehensive results are available," Yang said.

Asked to comment on allegations that a nightclub in western Seoul owned by his elder brother and YG founder Yang Hyun-suk has evaded individual consumption tax by registering its type of business as a restaurant with the tax authorities, the YG chief avoided a direct reply and simply said, "Sorry."

He said he cannot give further comment on the ongoing tax evasion probe.

The YG head also declined to answer questions about financial losses of the National Pension Service, a YG shareholder, caused by the company's falling stock prices.

"(I) will do the utmost for the interests of shareholders. Efforts will be made to increase the shareholder value through planned schedules in the future," he said.

YG's market capitalization dived 25.47 percent from 863.8 billion won (US$765 million) on Feb. 25 to 643.8 billion won on Thursday. The National Pension Service currently holds 6.06 percent of YG shares.

Regarding criticism that the company has been negligent in overseeing its member singers, Yang said he takes his company's social responsibility seriously.

At the shareholder meeting, which lasted a mere 15 minutes, Yang was reelected as chief executive of YG Entertainment. In addition, Tang Xiaoming of Shanghai Fengying Business Consultant Partnership was reelected as YG's outside director, while Cho Young-bong, vice president of EN Cast, was named a new outside director.

Strong protests were expected from shareholders over the recent plunge in the company's stock price, but the meeting proceeded calmly without any particular incident.

ycm@yna.co.kr
(END)

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