(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 2, 7-9; CHANGES photo)
SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- Seungri, the disgraced former member of K-pop boy band BIGBANG, was sentenced to a three-year prison term by a military court on Thursday on nine charges, including prostitution mediation and overseas gambling.
The Army's general military court in Yongin, south of Seoul, also ordered the immediate detention of the scandal-ridden celebrity, a 31-year-old whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, and a forfeiture of 1.15 billion won (US$990,000).
Seungri has been on trial at the military court because he enlisted in the Army in March last year following his indictment in January that year on multiple charges, which also include operation of an unlicensed adult entertainment establishment and embezzlement.
Seungri came to the center of the probe in a far-reaching sex and drug scandal surrounding Burning Sun, a Seoul nightclub affiliated with him, which roiled the K-pop industry in 2019.
He was indicted for procuring prostitutes for investors from Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and other countries from December 2015 to January 2016 to get investment for his nightclub and other businesses.
He was also charged with misappropriating about 528 million won from his club funds and habitually gambling in Las Vegas from December 2013 to August 2017, with combined gambling money of about 2.2 billion won at stake. He allegedly breached the foreign exchange transaction act in the process.
In January this year, Seungri was additionally charged with mobilizing gang members to threaten people he got into a fight with at a bar in 2015.
"The defendant (Seungri) arranged sexual favors for foreign investors on many occasions in collusion with his business partner Yoo In-suk and gained benefits as a result. His crime of commercializing sex and violating our traditional custom has caused no small harm to our society," the military court said.
"Gambling by an entertainer, who receives public attention, has a large ripple effect, such as undermining the sound work ethics of our society," it said, adding the nature of his other crimes is also grave.
During hearings, Seungri denied most of the charges, claiming that his business partner was responsible for the prostitution and he did not visit the United States for gambling.
But military prosecutors demanded a five-year prison term and a fine of 20 million won for Seungri in the previous hearing on July 2, saying that he has "shown no remorse and shifted blame to other people despite enjoying large benefits from his crimes."
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