The founder of SM Entertainment, one of Korea’s biggest K-pop agencies and home to artists such as EXO, NCT, aespa, Super Junior and TVXQ, has reportedly gifted a luxury apartment in Seoul worth 5 billion won ($4.3 million) to a Korean reporter who works for a well-known American TV news outlet.
According to a report by Korean news site Chosun, SM Entertainment’s Lee Soon-man, 69, gave the apartment to the reporter, who is in her 50s, who works for the Seoul branch of the US broadcasting company covering the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. She published a book and recently hosted an event attended by Lee Soo-man.
Lee Soo-man’s donation to the reporter, which happened in March, is an apartment at Sangji Caelum’s Ritzvil in Cheongdam, Gangnam, described as a luxury villa, with an exclusive area of 196.42 sq. m.
Lee Soo-man bought the apartment for 3.89 billion won ($3.38 million) in July 2015. He is the largest shareholder of SM Entertainment with an 18.73 percent stake.
A person who knows the relationship between the two told Chosun that “I know that the executive producer has been dating [the reporter] for a long time after he lost his wife a long time ago.” Lee Soo-man’s wife, Kim Eun-jin, passed away on Sept. 30, 2014 after battling cancer.
About the luxury apartment, a rep from SM Entertainment told Chosun,”This is completely unrelated to SM. We can’t confirm it.”
The reporter published a book last year and attended an industry conference this year. She has posted about SM Entertainment artists on her social media accounts.