[THE INVESTOR] Shares of JYP Entertainment, one of the nation’s top three entertainment agencies, tumbled almost 6 percent on May 2 following a news report that the firm’s founder and largest-shareholder J.Y. Park may have links to the religious cult Salvation Sect.
The stocks plunged more than 10 percent at one point in morning trading. The price closed at 20,250 won (US$18.82) on the secondary bourse KOSDAQ, down 5.59 percent from the previous trading session.
Earlier in the day, local news outlet Dispatch reported that Park recently held an evangelical preaching for the Salvation Sect, a religious group believed to be led by the sunken Sewol ferry’s de facto owner Yoo Byung-eon who was found dead in 2014 amid investigations escalating over his embezzlement and tax evasion charges.
The meeting was also attended by Bae Yong-joon, actor and founder of KeyEast Entertainment, and Byun Ki-choon, Yoo’s close confidante and former chief of Chonhaiji, the core unit of Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of Sewol.
Park immediately denied the report, hinting at legal action. He said he and some friends have held Bible study meetings for four years and the meetings have nothing to do with the Salvation Sect or related businesses.
Park who owns a 16.16 percent stake in JYP Entertainment is a registered board director at the agency. He works as a producer supporting music, production and styling of the agency’s singers and bands. Largely buoyed by girl band Twice’s successful comeback in April, the firm’s operating profit in the fourth quarter is expected to exceed the 10 billion won mark for the first time.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)