UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that he is "embarrassed" by allegations by a late South Korean business tycoon that he became a target of a prosecution investigation because he is close to Ban. This was reported by Yonhap Korean news agency.
Sung Wan-jong, a former head of Keangnam Enterprises, a mid-size South Korean construction firm, made the claim in a phone call with a newspaper reporter just hours before he killed himself amid an investigation into embezzlement and other corruption charges against him.
The point of his claim was that Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo engineered the investigation against him because of his closeness to Ban in a suspected attempt to prevent him from running for the race in the 2017 Presidential election.
On April 16, Ban said that he had learned of the allegations from news reports and that he was embarrassed.
He told Yonhap, “This case has nothing to do with me" as he emerged from a meeting with Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Ban said he knows the late tycoon, but does not have any special relationship with him. Yonhap quoted Ban as saying, “I am not interested in domestic politics and have no energy to do so. I've stated this position before and I am embarrassed as this kind of thing came up again."
Ban, South Korean foreign minister during the liberal government of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, has been talked about as a potential Presidential candidate, even though he never made any mention of such a possibility.
Opinion polls have shown he is one of the favored potential candidates for the 2017 vote, and at one time polls pushed him way up with his runner-up getting less than one half of his votes.
Ban has rejected speculation that he's interested in running for Presidentstressing that it is inappropriate to link him to domestic politics when he is focusing on his job as UN chief.