BY Julie Jones | Jan 16, 2015 09:46 AM EST
Whether the publicity surrounding the attempted blackmail of Lee Byung Hun will damage his career or harm his marriage remains to be seen. But the blackmail attempt has already resulted in prison sentences for both the convicted blackmailers and the disbanding of the girl group Glam.
According to the Korean media outlet JoongAng Daily, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Glam's Da Hee to a year and two months in prison, while model Lee Ji Yeon as sentenced to a year's prison term on Jan. 15. The women were charged with threatening to blackmail actor Lee Byung Hun. Da Hee and Lee Ji Yeon asked for $5 million or they would release video footage of the actor making sexually suggestive remarks.
At the trial the model said that she was having an affair with the actor and only threatened to blackmail him when he broke it off. She said that the actor wanted to buy a house for her but lost interest when she would not have a physical relationship with him. The actor denied that he had a relationship with the model.
Text messages attributed to Lee Ji Yeon began to circulate after the trial and suggested that the married 42-year-old actor was pursuing a romantic relationship with the 20-year-old model. But his alleged interest in her did not excuse the blackmail attempt. In the eyes of the court, the women planned the blackmail for financial gain.
Jung Eun Young, chief judge of the Seoul Central District Court, dismissed the idea that the model retaliated because she felt rejected, finding no evidence that Lee Ji Yeon and Lee Byung Hun were in a serious relationship.
"Looking at the text messages exchanged between the two, actor Lee felt amorous toward his counterpart, but the model wasn't that interested in Lee," said Jung Eun Young. "We don't see them as a couple. We think the women blackmailed Lee because they were motivated by money."
According to the Korea Times both women apologized in court.
"I regret behaving childishly. I apologize for disappointing my family, whom I love," said Lee Ji Yeon.
"I apologize for causing so much worry to many people. I wanted to apologize to Lee Byung Hun and am sorry I did not have the chance. I also want to apologize to my parents and Lee Ji Yeon's parents," said Da Hee.
Lee Ji Yeon's parents have said they want her to appeal her sentence.
The sentencing of Glam's Da Hee was followed shortly by the break-up of her girl group. Big Hit Entertainment announced the break-up on Jan. 15.
Lee Byung Hun is currently in the U.S. for work. His wife, actress Lee Min Jung, who was photographed with him in the U.S. a few days ago, returned to Korea this week for a work commitment.
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