Burning Sun scandal fuels severe losses for Aori Ramen chain

Former K-pop star Seungri and his Japanese ramen restaurant chain are being sued by former franchise owners over a plunge in sales following the Burning Sun scandal. 

Seungri, once a member of BigBang, founded Aori Ramen, a popular Japanese ramen chain. 

Two former Aori Ramen store managers have filed a suit against Aori F&B, each demanding compensation of 160 million won (US$135,604). They argue that Seungri, as former head of Aori F&B, failed to be responsible for maintaining the reputation of the company.

The Burning Sun scandal broke in January and involves instances of celebrities being secretly filmed having sex and sharing the videos online. It later expanded into allegations of police corruption, prostitution and drug trafficking. Seungri was implicated early as a director of the Burning Sun nightclub in Gangnam, which was the epicentre of the events. He resigned from the entertainment industry in March after being charged with sex bribery. 

The Aori Ramen store managers reported monthly sales of 67 million won for four months after they opened the stores. Following the Burning Sun incident, sales plunged by more than 50 per cent, resulting in severe losses.

“While Seungri resigned from the post, the owner risk rests on him, especially when the company used his name for promotion,” said lawyer Kang Seong-shin, defending the two store managers.

“Seungri has to take both legal and moral responsibilities, but the store managers have yet to be compensated.”

Seungri in 2016. Image by Riality via Wikimedia Commons.

Aori F&B was purchased by private investors last month after selling all of Seungri’s shares as well as the ones held by Yuri Holdings, owned by Seungri’s business partner, all of which were donated to a welfare organisation.

The company also held a 50 per cent discount promotion to celebrate the new start.

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