World

Ban Ki Moon denies corruption allegations

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has denied allegations that he received bribes worth US$230,000 (S$333,000) from a tycoon when he was South Korea's foreign minister.

The allegations come as Ban, 72, eyes a bid to succeed President Park Geun Hye, who has been impeached by parliament over a corruption scandal.

The Sisa Journal claims in a report published on Saturday that Park Yeon Cha, the former CEO of shoemaker Taekwang, gave Ban a paper bag with US$200,000 in cash at his residence in Hannam-dong, Seoul, in 2005.

The weekly magazine also claimed that Park asked a restaurant owner in New York to hand US$30,000 to Ban in 2007, after the latter had assumed his post as Secretary-General.

Park was also at the centre of the corruption scandal involving family members and close aides to late South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun.

Ban, who steps down from his UN post this Saturday, has strongly denied the allegations and will ask the magazine to withdraw the report and issue an official apology, according to a press statement released by UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The Korea Herald reported that Ban's aides said he "never met Park at that time and has never seen him since".

"During his tenure as a public official, Ban has never taken any bribes. It's regrettable to see such a malignant report," continued the statement.

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