Three employees of subsidiaries of HYBE, the agency behind K-pop superstars BTS, have been charged with insider trading by South Korean prosecutors.

They are being accused of selling shares in the agency before BTS members announced they were taking a break on 14 June 2022.

The announcement sent HYBE shares plunging 25% when markets opened, resulting in a loss in market value of nearly 2 trillion won (KSh. 181.3B; $1.4bn).

The prosecutors said the three employees acted with prior knowledge of what was about to happen, avoiding losses ranging from KSh 3.1M ($24,000) to more than KSh 13.9M ($108,000).

At the time, many analysts speculated about the reasons for the hiatus, with some saying the band members would have to attend South Korea’s mandatory 18-month military service.

South Korea is still technically at war with North Korea, so nearly all able-bodied men are obliged to enlist for 18 months by the time they turn 28.

All members of the band would end up being drafted in the months and years that followed.

The oldest member of the hit boy band, Jin, was discharged earlier this month after completing his service.

The other six – J-Hope, V, RM, Jimin, Jung Kook and Suga – are still serving and the band is expected to reunite only in June 2025.

Fans of the wildly popular boyband are hoping Jin’s return is also the beginning of BTS’ return from its hiatus.


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