Ozuna Admits He Was a Victim of Extortion: ‘I Made a Mistake’
Puerto Rican reggaeton star Ozuna confirmed in a press statement on Wednesday that he had fallen victim to a blackmail scheme, involving an explicit video filmed of the singer when he was 16 years old.
“Our attorney confirmed yesterday that urban artist Ozuna was extorted through an intimate video filmed when he was a minor,” said a statement issued by Ozuna’s label and management firm, Dimelo Vi. “This video was edited with the objective of causing even more damage. [During] the time of the extortion scheme, we filed a complaint and all the legal measures are being taken, as sending and publishing videos of minors is a state and federal offense… 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.”
In addition to the statement issued by his label, the singer, 26, issued a public apology. “Like many young people, I made a mistake, fueled 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.”
According to Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Día, Ozuna, born Juan Carlos Ozuna Rosado, reported the the extortion plot to both the FBI and Miami Police Department in 2017. While no blackmailer was named in his label’s press statement, Ozuna’s attorney Antonio Sagardía stated that Kevin Fret, the trap singer shot and killed in San Juan on January 10, claimed to have a compromising video of an underage Ozuna performing a sex act and demanded money to keep it out of public view. Sagardía stated that Ozuna paid Fret $50,000 before he contacted the FBI. At the time of the alleged extortion, Fret was living in Miami.
“Ozuna is not a suspect,” Sagardía said during a conference with Puerto Rican media on Tuesday. “I went with Ozuna to the Department of Justice. We met with prosecutor Freire (Luis Freire Borges), who at the time was the director of the Cyber Crimes Unit, and with more police personnel, because there was an extortion attempt from another person, who was Kevin Fret.”
According to Billboard, Ozuna’s manager, Vicente Saavedra, also stated that Ozuna has not been officially investigated or called to testify in the murder of Fret. Meanwhile, Juan Marrero Cruz, director of Puerto Rico’s Criminal Investigations Corps, told El Nuevo Día that his main priority is locating a suspect who was last seen with Fret on the morning of his death. “We will concentrate on identifying the person who was at the scene,” said Marrero.
Ozuna placed 43 hits on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart in 2018. He recently performed alongside Jose Feliciano in a special edition of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon filmed in Puerto Rico. His upcoming album, tentatively titled Nibiru, is due for release in 2019.