Original, 21 August: 30-year-old singer and former member of Girls' Generation, Jessica Jung is currently fighting a legal battle against two Chinese management agencies. According to South Korean news outlet Asia Today, Jung has officially sent an appeal to the Supreme Court to appeal the final ruling of the Seoul Central District Court, which ruled in favour of the agencies.
Back in 2016, Jung's management agency, Coridel Capital Management Limited signed contracts giving two Chinese management agencies exclusive rights to manage Jung's activities in China. The contract officially ends in 28 February of this year.
Both the Chinese agencies sued Jung for violating the exclusive authority of the contracts and requested the singer to pay a penalty amounting to approximately $1.6 million. This sum includes the money invested by the companies into the exclusive authorization contract, the penalty for a contract breach, attorney fees, and undivided profits earned.
On 27 November 2017, the Beijing Arbitration Commission ruled in favour of the Chinese management agencies. Jung then appealed the ruling and took the lawsuit to South Korea. Her legal representation argued that Jung was not a direct contracting party.
However, this year, the Seoul Central District Court gave the same ruling as the Beijing Arbitration Commission. The court stated that despite Jung not being a direct contracting party, she still had issued the letter of authorization as the executer of the contract. This meant that Jung had to pay the aforementioned penalties.
Jung requested an appeal from the Supreme Court which was dismissed on 23 July. She has submitted a second appeal to the Supreme Court and is currently waiting to see if it will be approved or dismissed.
Update, 23 August: In light of the appeal to the Supreme Court, Jung's agency, Coridel Entertainment released an official statement addressing the legal dispute and describing what led up to the appeal.
Their statement goes as follows:
"To promote Jessica's activities in China, Coridel Entertainment signed a transfer contract with two Chinese agencies to exclusively manage Jessica's promotions in China. According to the transfer contract, the Chinese agencies were obligated to pay a specific sum of money in authorization and consultation fees, as well as the payment from Jessica's Chinese promotions, to Coridel every month.
Up until the first half of 2016, Jessica was very active in China, attending events supervised by Newstyle. But when the THAAD incident began, the Chinese agencies used this as an excuse to default on the payments for Jessica's Chinese promotions, and from July 2016, they also stopped paying the authorization and consultation fees required by the transfer contract. Jessica has therefore been promoting in China without receiving payment until now.
After this, the Chinese agencies asked Coridel for an arbitration meeting to solve various issues related to the THAAD situation. Although Coridel's trust in the Chinese agencies had been betrayed, a speedy resolution was desirable and Coridel fully participated in the arbitration meeting. However, in order for a smoother arbitration process, Coridel requested that the Chinese agencies at least pay the amount due for Jessica's past and current promotions in China. The Chinese agencies denied this request. As a result, Coridel had no choice but to notify the agencies that the transfer contract was canceled in October 2016. In spite of the situation outlined above, if the Chinese agencies only made good on their delayed payments and showed their willingness to continue the transfer contract, Coridel was willing to resolve the issue with them.
Instead, the Chinese agencies did not respond to the notification of contract cancelation for a long time. Suddenly, in 2017, they filed a request for arbitration, stating that Coridel had unfairly nullified the contract and requesting that Coridel pay them a cancellation charge and return the profit payments and authorization and consultation fees that had been paid. They also falsely asserted that Coridel was the first one to violate the contract.
Specifically, the Chinese agencies mentioned a real incident in which Jessica attended an NBA match in San Francisco and had an interview with one of the many reporters there, who happened to be Chinese. The Chinese agencies twisted this into an "official promotion in Chinese territory" and said it was a violation of their exclusive management rights. But Jessica was in the United States, not Chinese territory, and she was not paid for the interview. The Chinese agencies have made an unbelievable claim in order to make it appear that there were grounds for their lawsuit against Jessica. Moreover, the Chinese agencies knew about the interview at the time and did not have a problem with it because it was not an activity in which profit was being made. There are no documents proving that the Chinese agencies did not approve of the interview when it occurred, and it is clear that the agencies have only focused on this incident in order to make it seem like Coridel was to blame.
Coridel, as a party in the transfer contract, was willing to participate in the legal arbitration that the Chinese agencies filed against them. However, the arbitration proceeded as if Jessica was one of the parties involved, which was unfair, as she was only an artist under Coridel Entertainment. However, since arbitration is not as detailed and exact as a legal proceeding, the Beijing Arbitration Commission did not accept Coridel's legitimate claims due to a lack of evidence. Instead, the commission accepted the Chinese agencies' claims and judged that Coridel should pay them the cancellation fee and return to them the profits, consultation fees, and authorization fees that they previously paid to Coridel. The Beijing Arbitration Commission's arbitration did not accurately reflect the evidence and situation, and the resulting judgment was biased.
In order to effect an arbitration decision made in a foreign country, the Korean courts must approve the decision. The Chinese agencies went to the Seoul Central District Court and filed a request to enforce the arbitration decision made in China against Jessica herself rather than Coridel Entertainment. We regret not only the Beijing Arbitration Commission's mistaken decision, but also that it went so far as to be filed in the Seoul Central District Court as well. In spite of the fact that the situation and the evidence proves that neither Coridel nor Jessica had committed wrongdoing, we were shocked to learn that the Korean courts had sided with the Chinese agencies in their decision.
In the past, an arbitration decision made in a foreign country were enforced through a lawsuit, but currently the arbitration laws allow for those decisions to be approved through a simple application process. Coridel took legal steps to prevent the Chinese agencies from filing this application, but there were institutional limitations. Despite the fact that Coridel vigorously fought against Jessica being named as the direct party involved in the contract arbitration, Coridel lost the first and second lawsuits. However, we believe in Korea's justice system and that the truth will prevail, so we have filed for a third lawsuit at the Supreme Court."
The story is still developing.