[Editorial] Before trying to be president, Ban Ki-moon must address his sibling’s corruption

Posted on : 2017-01-18 15:32 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
 younger brother of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
younger brother of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Allegations continue to pile up around former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has embarked on his presidential campaign since returning to South Korea. During a radio interview with the “Kim Eo-jun News” program on TBS on Jan. 17, Matthew Russell Lee (a reporter for innercitypress.com, a media website that does investigative reporting on the UN) said that Ban’s younger brother Ban Ki-ho had done business in the troubled country of Myanmar as a member of the UN delegation to the country. Lee also revealed that Ban’s nephew Bahn Joo-hyun worked for the company that owns the building where the UN is located.

Such behavior by relatives of the UN Secretary-General represents a clear conflict of interest. Myanmar is a country where the UN has exercised its influence not only with the military junta but also with the ongoing refugee crisis involving the Rohingya people. “When the UN Secretary-General’s younger brother is a member of the UN delegation, the Myanmar government is obviously going to let it win a contract,” Lee argued.

Ban Ki-ho (second from the left)
Ban Ki-ho (second from the left)

It is noteworthy that Lee has repeatedly brought up the problematic behavior of Ban Ki-moon’s relatives, asking the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson about Bahn Joo-hyun in May 2015, but has failed to receive any response. After Ban Ki-moon’s younger brother Ban Ki-sang and nephew Bahn Joo-hyun were indicted by a US federal court on charges of bribery, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson communicated his “shock” and claimed that he had “learned about this from reading the news.”

But considering Lee’s testimony, Ban is very likely not telling the truth. Lee also said that he lost his press pass and even his desk at the UN press office while investigating the appointment of Siddarth Chatterjee (Ban’s son-in-law) to a high position at a UN agency. Lee criticized Ban for turning the UN into “a candy shop for people with money,” claiming that there was such a special relationship between the government of Qatar (to which Bahn Joo-hyun attempted to sell the building in Vietnam) and Ban Ki-moon that Qatar provided Ban with free flights on its jets and.

The allegations that Lee has raised are too detailed and specific to be easily dismissed or ignored. Ban Ki-moon needs to provide a full explanation of whether his younger brother was doing business in Myanmar with the UN delegation and if so what that business involved. Ban also needs to explain whether he was lying when he claimed that he had been unaware of the aberrant behavior of his younger brother and nephew, considering that their behavior had already been brought up by the press. Before Ban can offer a “political change” and pursue his presidential ambitions, his first priority ought to be passing the gauntlet of these questions about his moral fiber.

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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