On September 6, it was revealed CEO Lee of a marketing and contracting firm was sentenced to one year in prison by the Seoul Central District Court. The CEO was charged with blackmailing Big Hit Entertainment by threatening to reveal information about the agency's alleged illegal marketing practices and its artists.
Following his company's financial trouble, CEO Lee threatened Big Hit in an e-mail, stating, "I've hacked and obtained documents regarding the illegal marketing you've done for your artists. If you don't send 330 million Won (~$291,000 USD), I'll release the documents to media and distribute it through messaging." Though previous reports stated Big Hit had paid off the CEO, the agency it did not give money to the blackmailer.
The label stated, "The money transferred to Lee was the result of a personal attempt by a Big Hit employee who was initially threatened to protect our artists' images. The agency itself never gave money to the blackmailer."
In an official statement, Big Hit Entertainment explained, "Lee was tasked with advertising and handling marketing for albums two years ago, and it ended as a one-time project. Afterwards, Lee claimed that he found inappropriate marketing documents and made threats of blackmail against us."
The label continued, "After becoming aware of the situation, Big Hit immediately reported Lee to the police, and after he was detained, he was sentenced to one year in prison for charges of threats, blackmail, and fraud. Big Hit and the agency artists are victims of blackmail threats. Big Hit is a transparent company that has legitimate dealings with external companies. All contracts and sourcing are managed according to accounting standards."
Big Hit also apologized to the BTS members and their fans ARMY for the issue, stating, "We'll do everything we can to carefully manage our business partners and contractors to prevent this from happening again."