MBK Entertainment‘s founder Kim Kwang Soo and PocketDol Studio‘s CEO Park Kyu Heon have each been fined ₩10 million KRW for their roles in Produce 101 Season 1‘s vote rigging scandal.

kim kwang soo

According to the Seoul Central District Court via Osen, it was decided today that both MBK Entertainment’s founder Kim Kwang Soo and PocketDol Studio’s CEO Park Kyu Heon would be fined ₩10 million KRW ($9,091 USD) for their roles in encouraging vote rigging during Produce 101 Season 1, under the charge of obstruction of business. PocketDol Studio was established as a joint company between MBK Entertainment and Interpark.

Both Kim Kwang Soo and Park Kyu Heon were accused of obstructing CJ ENM‘s business operations between March and April 2016, giving 10,000 ID’s using borrowed names to their employees and ordering them to vote for the three MBK Entertainment trainees who were participating in Produce 101 Season 1: Ki Huihyeon, Kim Danielle, and Jung Chaeyeon.

At the time, Park Kyu Heon proposed the idea of inflating the number of votes for the trainees to Kim Kwang Soo, in order for their trainees to avoid elimination during the 3rd round of eliminations and the final vote that would decide the members of I.O.I, and Kim Kwang Soo agreed. Kim Kwang Soo ordered his employees to vote for his agency’s trainees, heavily focusing on two of the three. As a result, a total of 89.228 votes were cast for the agency’s trainees, using 9,945 different accounts.

The defendants bought a large number of other people’s ID’s and used when in an abnormal way to raise the ranking of their entertainment agency’s trainees in an audition program, influencing the rankings by only voting for a particular person.

The defendants were involved in the planning and production of audition-style shows, and aren’t just small agencies, and they did not make any efforts to help establish a transparent and fair culture in the industry. Rather, they helped create distrust in the industry by using negative methods such as fraudulent voting.

The influence of the vote only made a small change to the rankings, and did not influence the final outcome of the members of I.O.I. The defendants have admitted to their wrongdoings, and have not had any criminal record in the last five years.

— Seoul Central District Court