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YG Agency Boss Quits as K-Pop Scandals Expand

Yang Hyun-suk last week resigned from his remaining positions at YG Entertainment. The talent agency he co-founded is deeply mired in a series of inter-linked scandals that stretch from drugs to prostitution. Problems started with the band Bigbang and its star Seungri, but now also encompass other YG artists.

Hwang Bo-kyung was appointed as the new CEO of the company on Thursday, replacing Yang’s brother Yang Min-suk, who also recently resigned from his CEO position.

“For the past 23 years have I devoted half of my entire life to grow YG (Entertainment). (…) But today I am leaving all my duties at YG,” said Yang in the statement. “YG being stabilized as soon as possible is what I am hoping from the bottom of my heart. Last but not least, I believe the truth beneath all the rumors and what is currently being reported will be probed thoroughly.”

The latest name drawn into the scandal was B.I, lead-songwriter of YG’s boy band iKON. He quit the band after allegations arose that he had used illegal drugs. “Gangnam” star, Psy was questioned by police but it was not clear whether as a suspect or as a witness.

It has also been alleged that YG has a corrupt relationship with the police, who may have known about illegal activity, but were slow to investigate. More recently, Yang has also accused of covering up the B.I. case with the help of Lee Seung-hoon, a member of YG’s another boy band Winner.

In a separate case, Yang has also been alleged to have provided prostitutes to potential foreign investors. And Korean tax authorities also began investigating the company in March.

The Seoul police said that they would form a task force to closely investigate all the cases involving YG, its artists, and the company’s relationship with the police.

YG’s share price is down 30% so far this year. That reflect the difficulties it appear to be having in restructuring, and putting the interlocking scandals behind it.

Founded in 1996 by dancer- -producer Yang, YG has grown into one of the top three K-pop agencies alongside SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment. It has produced top K-pop acts including Bigbang, 2NE1, Psy and Black Pink.

However, the company has been embroiled in scandals for years, including one involving G-Dragon, another member of Bigbang. He was accused of using drugs at a club in Japan in 2011.

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