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Ban Ki-moon must clarify allegations over his family’s bribery scandal

Ban Ki-moon must clarify allegations over his family’s bribery scandal

Posted January. 12, 2017 07:03,   

Updated January. 12, 2017 07:17

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Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, one of the strongest candidates for the next presidential election, will return to Korea on today after ending his decade-long leadership at the U.N. Unfortunately, news reports came out yesterday saying his brother and nephew had been indicted at the federal court in New York over a bribery case. Ban Ki-sang, who is brother of Ban Ki-moon, and his son were allegedly conspired to bribe a foreign official in the Middle East with 500,000 dollars to close a deal on the sale of a 72-story landmark skyscraper in Vietnam, owned by Keangnam Enterprises, to a country’s sovereign-wealth fund.

While impeachment of President Park Geun-hye is on track amid a huge corruption scandal with her closest confidante, it is such a shame that brother of the former UN chief is involved in a bribery case. Ban Ki-sang was a senior executive at Keangnam Enterprises, and Sung Wan-jong, the late chairman of Keangnam Enterprises who killed himself in 2015, was the founder of the Chungcheong Forum that touted Ban Ki-moon as the next president. Putting the pieces together, Ban Ki-moon cannot deny his involvement in connections between Ban brothers and Keangnam Enterprises.

At the airport on his way back to Korea, Ban Ki-moon said he would explain all of the allegations against him that he received 230,000 dollars from Park Yeon-cha, former chairman of Taekwang. At the same time, his spokesperson Lee Do-woon told reporters that “Ban may not know anything” about the current bribery allegations against his brother and nephew. Ban must clarify all of the allegations about him in details. If he has not received any money from Park, he can bring the case to the court for defamation. Simultaneously, he needs to come forward and clarify involvement in his brother’s bribery scandal or anything he knew about it before.

Ban Ki-moon has earned respect and admiration from the public while leading the U.N. over the past decade. However, qualities required for president are different from what for UN leader. Ban’s supports have promoted Ban as a newbie in the politics, trying to build up a clean politician image. In the meantime, however, he has been targeted as a government official who is not looking beyond the established circles. Furthermore, his political camp is filled with old conservatives and famous names who worked for previous administrations. In line with impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, the public has raised requirements for president and accordingly validation process is to become much more strict and rigorous. Against this backdrop, Ban’s vague slogan calling for harmony of a nation will never work. Instead, Ban needs to prove himself to the public that he is capable enough to become next leader. Korea is faced with many obstacles in and out of the nation. “Ban Ki-moon bubble” will burst soon if he does not show a clear set of visions and philosophy for future Korea.

When asked by Korean reporters about the 230,000-dollar allegation after giving a new year’s speech, Ban strongly responded that rumors or irresponsible remarks or actions in the name of validation need to be rooted out. “These allegations are absurd and not accurate," he said. "The old behaviors in political circles of trying to earn benefits by hurting others through defamation should be exterminated now.”