UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon, who is one of the likely candidates to succeed scandal-hit South Korean President Park Geun-hye, has denied an allegation that he took bribes worth $230,000 from a tycoon in 2000 when he was the country’s foreign minister, straitstimes.com reported on Sunday.
The weekly Sisa Journal claims in a report published on Saturday that Ban allegedly received the kickback from Park Yeon-cha, a businessman who was at the center of the corruption scandal involving close aides to and family members of late President Roh Moo-hyun.
In a press statement released late Saturday, Ban strongly denied the allegations as „completely false and groundless,“ and demanded the magazine to issue an official apology.
Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, responding on behalf of Ban, said an official letter will be sent to the editor-in-chief of the Sisa Journal to ask for its apology.
Meanwhile a former chief prosecutor who led an investigation into a high-profile lobbying scandal back in the mid-2000 told Yonhap new agency he doesn’t know anything about the allegation.
Citing several anonymous sources close to Park Yeon Cha, the magazine quoted Park as saying that he handed a paper bag carrying $200,000 in cash to Ban at the residence of the foreign minister in Hannam-dong, southern Seoul, in 2005. Ban was the foreign minister at that time.
The magazine also reported, citing a person close to Park, that Park asked the owner of a restaurant in New York to pass on another $30,000 to Ban in early 2007, right after Ban was elected UN secretary-general.
Newspaper headline: UN chief denies taking bribes from SK tycoon