Entertainment & Arts

Ozuna blackmailed over 'intimate tape'

Ozuna Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ozuna's albums Aura and Odiesza were the two biggest-selling Latin records of 2018 in the US

Puerto Rican star Ozuna has confirmed he was the victim of a blackmail scheme involving an explicit video filmed when he was 16 years old.

"Ozuna was extorted through an intimate video filmed when he was a minor," said a statement from the singer's label and management firm, Dimelo Vi.

"This video was edited with the objective of causing even more damage."

The reggaeton singer is believed to have paid $50,000 (£38,000) to his extorter before approaching the FBI.

His label said "all the legal measures" were being pursued "as sending and publishing videos of minors is a state and federal offence".

They added: "We hope that this will serve as an example and message to all teenagers and adults to protect their privacy and avoid these things so as to [avoid] such regrettable situations."

'I made a mistake'

Reports published by Puerto Rican media claimed the person extorting Ozuna was the gay rap artist Kevin Fret - who was shot dead in San Juan on 10 January.

Ozuna's lawyer confirmed the claims in an interview with Spanish-language news station Univision, but stressed that "the police have said Ozuna is not a suspect".

"Fret, may he rest in peace, alleged he had a video that could damage Ozuna and he wanted money," Antonio Sagardía said. "It was a typical extortion."

Sagardía said he "did not know" how Fret had obtained the video, but a "large outlay" was made to see whether he would "cease and desist".

Ozuna and his lawyer then reported the the extortion plot to both the FBI and Miami Police Department in 2017, he added.

"There is no link with the murder investigation, except that Kevin Fret extorted [Ozuna] and the police know it," Sagardía said in a separate interview with El Nuevo Dia.

"I assume they're going to interview him about that. Ozuna is not a suspect."

Ozuna, born Juan Carlos Ozuna Rosado, had the two biggest-selling Latin albums in America last year, and is currently in the UK Top 20 with Taki Taki - a collaboration with Cardi B, Selena Gomez and DJ Snake.

In addition to the statement issued by his label, the singer issued a public apology.

"Like many young people, I made a mistake, fuelled by ignorance," he wrote.

"Today, I'm not only sorry for what happened, but I condemn it. That's why I looked for help and I am certain everything will be cleared.

"Likewise, I'm following the process and am always willing to collaborate with authorities to prevent the evil that resulted from this big mistake.

"More importantly, I ask my family for forgiveness. They are my life's priority and I will continue to fight for them always."

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