The former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s relatives are charged with corruption, money laundering and conspiracy concerning millions of dollars.
Ban’s younger brother Ban Ki-sang and nephew Joo Hyun “Dennis” Bahn are charged with conspiring to bribe a Middle East government official through a middleman in US to secure the sale of a building complex in Vietnam known as Landmark 72.
According to the US federal papers, the two paid millions of dollars in bribes to persuade a Middle Eastern official to arrange a purchase of the complex. The arrangement was even attempted at the annual UN general assembly meeting in New York.
$500,000 initial bribe was made to a US businessman Malcolm Harris, with another $2m promised upon the closing of the sale. However, the two relatives were double-crossed as Mr Harris ran off with the money.
“Ban was greatly surprised by the news, which he learned from the media. He knows nothing about it,” Ban’s spokesman, Lee Do-woon said.
The charges puts a strain Ban’s political career, as he is seen as a candidate to run for President in South Korea.
Although Ban hasn’t announced his intention to run for presidency yet, he has a team of people laying the groundwork in Seoul for a possible presidential campaign.
Ban has previously said that the Korean people are “desperate” for an “inclusive leadership” and he is willing to “burn his body” for better politics. He has also said that he will devote himself to South Korea after his UN tenure.
Ki Sang and Bahn are expected to be in Manhattan federal court next week.
Lois Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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