Female celebrities lodge complaints amid rumors

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Female celebrities lodge complaints amid rumors

With the prosecution’s investigation into a celebrity prostitution ring having come to an end, the female stars rumored to have provided sex to rich men in exchange for money have stated that they are prepared to take legal action.

Some of the rumors, which went viral, stated that a few top-rated celebrities were paid as much as 50 million won ($47,100) per month to sexually entertain influential figures.

Lee Da-hae, an actress who has appeared in a number of popular TV dramas in the past few years, lodged a defamation complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on Tuesday against unspecified Internet users for spreading false information.

“Until now, Lee withheld from taking legal action for the countless rumors that have seriously undermined her integrity,” Forestar Entertainment, Lee’s agency, said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The agency said it felt compelled to take action after the rumors reached a certain pitch, fearing the damage inflicted would only worsen.

Other female entertainers embroiled in the scandal include singer Shin-ji, of the dance group Koyote, and Cho Hye-ryeon, a comedian, who also filed complaints with the police earlier this week. The rumors first started circulating last week when reports on the prosecutors’ ongoing investigation into the alleged celebrity sex service were leaked to the media.

The prosecutors yesterday wrapped up their investigation into the case, indicting without physical detention 12 brokers and foreign nationals who received the services, as well as an unspecified number of female celebrities ? whose identities were not disclosed. The police said the female celebrities who were the subject of the rumors were not involved in the scandal.

Of the 12 indicted, nine of them were female.

“We felt sorry for those embroiled in the rumors on the social networking sites. To minimize the increasing damage to those concerned, we decided to announce the results of the investigation in a timely manner,” the prosecution said yesterday.

The prosecutors have been criticized over the continuous leaks in the case. One such rumor states that certain well-known celebrities were sent to China for sex, and that sex was exchanged at a luxury hotel on an island in the country. When asked about these leaks, the prosecutors were ambivalent, saying they couldn’t comment amid an ongoing probe.

Legal experts have also criticized prosecutors’ handling of the case, saying they themselves have become the source of the rumors. “The fact that information about an investigation that has not been completed with evidence has been leaked to the media underscores the security problems within the prosecution itself,” said Lee Jong-hoon, a law professor at Myongji University in Seoul.

However, the Korean entertainment industry has long been alleged to have a questionable connection to influential figures in the business and political arenas.

The suicide of aspiring actress Jang Ja-yeon in 2009 ? who left a note claiming she was coerced to drink with and provide sexual services to influential figures has only intensified suspicions about the relationships between female stars and affluent men.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]
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