A man has confessed to defrauding a Chinese-Canadian pop singer, Kris Wu, over a teenager’s accusation he had sex with her when she was drunk, Beijing police said Thursday.
The announcement added a bizarre twist to a scandal that cost Wu endorsement contracts with brands including Porsche and Bulgari. The former member of Korean boy band EXO has denied the accusation, which prompted an outpouring of support for the woman online and criticism of Wu.
A man who saw rumors about the incident online contacted the woman in June and obtained information that allowed him to pretend to be her lawyer, police said in a statement. It gave no indication the woman was accused of taking part in the fraud.
The man talked Wu’s mother into sending the woman 500,000 yuan ($77,000) and then, pretending to be Wu’s lawyer, tried to persuade the woman to send the money to him, the statement said. It said he tried unsuccessfully to obtain an additional 2.5 million yuan ($390,000) from the family.
The man, identified only by the surname Liu, was arrested Sunday in Nantong, near Shanghai, after the singer’s mother complained to police that the family had been defrauded, according to the Beijing Public Security Bureau statement. It said he confessed.
The woman had been quoted by the internet portal NetEase as saying Wu encouraged her to drink too much at a party in December and she woke up in his bed. In a statement on his social media account, Wu said he met the woman but denied encouraging her to drink and said other parts of her account didn’t happen.
The woman was quoted as saying other women told her Wu seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities.
Police are investigating allegations Wu “repeatedly deceived young women into sexual relations,” the police statement said.
Brands cut ties with Wu the day after the NetEase report, reflecting their sensitivity to public opinion after the ruling Communist Party stirred up anger at shoe and clothing brands in retaliation for Western reports of human rights abuses in the mostly Muslim region of Xinjiang in the northwest.
Wu, known in Chinese as Wu Yifan, grew up in Guangzhou in southern China and in Vancouver, British Columbia. He performed with EXO in 2012-14 and then launched a solo career.
As an actor, he appeared in 2017′s XXX: Return of Xander Cage and two Chinese box office successes, Mr. Six and Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back.