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Police search multiple agencies over audition show's alleged vote rigging

All Headlines 16:59 October 01, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- Police on Tuesday raided multiple K-pop agencies as part of an investigation into allegations that the entertainment firm CJ ENM's cable music channel rigged the results of its fan-voted idol competition show, "Produce 101," police said.

Cyber investigators from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency stormed several agencies that represent members of new boy band X1 in Seoul to secure related documents and information. The 11 members rose from obscurity to stardom in the Mnet audition show through which three sensational bands -- I.O.I, Wanna One and IZ*ONE -- were formed and thrived.

Tuesday's search came after police raided the headquarters of CJ ENM and a separate data storage company involved in the show's voting process.

Police launched the investigation after the show's fourth season came under fire for alleged vote fixing. The final episode of the fourth season, aired on July 19, revealed the lineup of the final 11 winners on the basis of public voting conducted through mobile text messages.

The voting result was immediately called into question as some promising contenders who outperformed rivals throughout the season were eliminated while other dark horse candidates made it to the winner list. Angry fans accused the show of rigging the final vote count, referring to some suspicious numerical patterns shown in the tally of the vote

As many fans warned that they would file a legal complaint, Mnet, the broadcasting firm, requested a police investigation into the show's chief producer, Ahn Joon-young, and production staff.

This image, provided by cable music channel Mnet, shows the emblem of "Produce X 101," a fan-voted idol competition show. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

namsh@yna.co.kr
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