HYBE has fired and pressed charges against boy band BTS’s former dance coach, who the company says embezzled funds and used the entertainment giant’s name to swindle at least 5 billion won ($3.9 million).
The individual was BTS’s dance coach and choreographer for years. He joined the label in its early Big Hit Entertainment days and was well known among the band’s fans. He was dismissed for disciplinary reasons, namely for fraud and embezzlement, in September.
“The company immediately conducted an objective investigation, with the advice of an external law firm, after the employee’s misconduct was made aware and dismissed him after exclusion of duties and other personnel committee procedures,” said HYBE.
Not only is the coach accused of embezzling tens of millions of won in company funds, but he is also said to have swindled, and not returned, billions of won from composers, choreographers, and entrepreneurs.
The coach, HYBE says, forged documents in the agency’s name and used them to fool victims, from whom he is estimated to have stolen at least 5 billion won, into sending him money. He claimed that he would use the money to invest in merchandise in some cases, and pretended to be taking payment for the use of songs in others.
“The company strictly prohibits its employees from using company information, job duties or positions within the company to obtain personal gains or commit illegal and unjust activities,” said HYBE. A separate complaint center where such fraudulent activities can be reported is in operation, the music label said.
“In order to prevent [employees’] acts of fraud that abuse their relationship with the company or friendships with artists, we are constantly announcing warnings for avoiding fraud to the public. To prevent any repeats of the current situation, we will strengthen company measures on professional ethics education, anticorruption and fair trade for all employees, and implement stricter measures by strengthening the internal control system,” HYBE added.
BY JUNG SI-NAE, KIM JU-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]