Ban Ki-moon to address allegations in his native South Korea

SEOUL, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has yet to officially announce a presidential run in his native South Korea.

But allegations of corruption, centering on his relatives, and an explicit denouncement of his possible candidacy issued by North Korea, have been made ahead of his return home on Thursday.

Ban, 72, who played a key role in diplomatic negotiations during his U.N. tenure, is not the focus of the bribery charges.

But Ban's younger brother, Ban Ki-sang, and nephew Joo Hyun "Dennis" Bahn, are charged with offering money to a Middle Eastern official through a middleman, the Bloomberg reported.

Ban Ki-sang arranged the meeting to sell a building complex in Vietnam on commission, paying millions of dollars in bribes while leveraging the family name, according to the 39-page indictment issued in New York.

Ban Ki-moon is expected to address the allegations upon his return Thursday.

The former U.N. chief is considered to be the more conservative choice for president, if he chooses to run.

South Korea's opposition party candidate Moon Jae-in, who officially announced his candidacy in 2016, is the top choice with 32.5 percent of the popular support in a local poll released Thursday.

Ban trails at 20.3 percent.

North Korea's Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun condemned Ban on Wednesday, and warned if Ban is elected South Korea faces the increased risk of nuclear war.

Ban has distanced himself from impeached President Park Geun-hye, but Pyongyang claimed a President Ban would not improve relations.

Ban has said that the Korean people are "desperate" for a new form of "inclusive leadership," and that he is willing to "burn his body" for better politics in his country.
Elizabeth Shim


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