Update: On 1 October, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency reportedly conducted a search and seizure of various talent agencies, including Starship Entertainment, MBK Entertainment and Woollim Entertainment. The police will be searching for materials related to the alleged vote manipulation charges K-pop reality show, Produce X 101 has been embroiled in.
According to local media outlets such as No Cut News, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's cyber investigation team have allegedly found proof that some of the trainees who were voted into X1 received votes belonging to eliminated trainees.
A representative from the police agency stated that they believe that two or three members have been added to X1 via vote manipulation. However, their names will not be revealed as they are still gathering more evidence.
The police are also looking through the finance accounts of the producers of the show and Mnet to see if there have been any transactions between them and any talent agency participating.
Currently, the head producer of Produce X 101 and other members of the staff have been reportedly booked on charges of obstruction of business.
Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency stated that, "We are looking into whether there was any vote manipulation occurred in seasons 1 to 3, prior to Produce X 101. We have the necessary data and are analysing it."
The investigation is still ongoing. Stay tuned for more updates.
Original, 20 August: On 31 July, a search and seizure was ordered on CJ E&M office and a text voting company by the Seoul National Police Agency. This was ordered by the cyber investigation team to gather evidence and investigate the allegations facing the K-pop reality survival programme, Produce X 101.
The popular reality programme has been embroiled in a vote manipulation scandal when viewers noticed strange coincidences in the number of votes tallied and shown in the episodes. South Korean broadcast company, Mnet has agreed to a full investigation by the police as viewers have even filed formal lawsuits and complaints against the show.
According to local news outlets such as Jong Ang Ilbo, the first police raid of the CJ E&M office occurred on 31 July resulted in the police finding voice recordings in the phones of Produce X 101 staff. In these voice recordings, the people recorded were allegedly discussing vote manipulation that took place not just in this last season, but previous seasons before that too.
The owner of the phones and staff involved in the recordings have been reportedly summoned to be interrogated by the police. Due to this evidence being discovered, a second search and seizure was requested by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on 12 August.
Results of the second search has yet to be revealed with the police stating, "Speaking about the progress of an investigation can be seen as a publication of facts about a suspected crime, so the police cannot give details at this time."
However, the police confirmed that the voice recording confirming suspicions of vote manipulation in Produce X 101 was secured by them. They are currently looking into the phones of other staff members involved, in order to obtain more substantial proof before making a statement on the matter.
When rumours of possible rigging surfaced after the final episode aired, Mnet initially denied the rumours, saying "There was no issue with the text voting and no manipulation." This led to more backlash from viewers and Mnet issued an apology, citing a calculation error but assuring that the positions were not affected. After more pressure was placed on the producers of the show, they agreed to a police investigation into the vote manipulation allegations.
Fortunately, the winners of the show are still on schedule to debut as X1.