Lee Soo Man has recently been in the spotlight for alleged embezzlement and suspicious internal transactions.
In light of this controversy, netizens have rediscovered the incident when he was on the Interpol wanted list.
In 2002, Lee Soo Man and Suh Se Won had allegedly fled the country after they became key suspects in an investigation on corruption in the entertainment business. Soon after, the Seoul District Public Prosecutor’s Office requested Interpol to put Lee Soo Man and Suh Se Won on the wanted list to bring them back and suspended their passports through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Lee Soo Man was put on the wanted list for charges of embezzling approximately $1 million USD from company funds and for bribery, and Suh Se Won for charges on bribing producers to promote his movies while he was managing Suh Se Won Production.
As things got more serious, Lee Soo Man returned to Korea in May 2003 and was immediately arrested. He denied all accusations but the Public Prosecutor’s expressed their intentions to conduct a thorough investigation of his activities.
Lee Soo Man completely denied all accusations while Suh Se Won admitted some of the allegations and apologized.
To everyone’s surprise, he was eventually released in just one day.
Despite months of searching for Lee Soo Man, he was apparently sent home early because SM lawyers had provided a large amount of proof denying all accusations.
The results of trials in September 2004, however, proved him guilty and he was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of probation.
This sentence was then delayed due to the fact that the company funds were transferred back into the company.
Then in February 2007, Lee Soo Man was listed in the special pardon list for the 4th anniversary of President Roh Moo Hyun’s inauguration and ultimately pardoned.
In 2012, SM Entertainment had also faced investigations for offshore tax evasion which they also denied.
Rumors had it that the company had set up bank accounts in tax havens such as Hong Kong and have been sending earnings to these accounts. The company had allegedly evaded approximately $9 million USD in tax using these offshore accounts.
Furthermore, near the end of 2017, the Justice Party of Gyeongsangnam-do demanded the suspension and investigation of SM Entertainment’s Changwon Culture Complex Town for receiving various preferential treatments.
“It has been revealed that the Changwon SMTown project has received various preferential favors and is a bad business. As a result, Changwon must halt all projects of ‘Changwon Artium City’, the project operators and consider resuming the project once the facts have been revealed through investigation.” ㅡ Gyeongsangnam-do Justice Party
Netizens have been criticizing Lee Soo Man and SM Entertainment for all of the accusations they have managed to evade through various methods and special treatments.
- “They really need to investigate SM thoroughly…their dark connections with producers in the music industry are really suspicious;;; Anyway, the company is really dirty”
- “They’ve rotted so much that it’s only inevitable they get caught soon. I hope this puts an end to all of their corruption.”
- “Something’s always fishy about things the Moon Administration supports~~SM took control of the Pyeongchang Olympics and then even the artists who visited North Korea…”