Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a potential presidential contender, will first repudiate bribery allegations against him upon arriving home this week, his spokesman said Wednesday, an apparent move to eliminate an unexpected liability ahead of a key election this year.
Dismissing the allegations as being "utterly untrue," Lee Do-woon said that Ban will explain his position during his planned meeting with the press at the Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, upon his arrival Thursday afternoon.
Ban, a former foreign minister, completed his second five-year term as the UN helmsman at the end of last year. Following his return home, he is widely expected to launch political activities to boost his presidential prospects.
Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon`s spokesman Lee Do-woon speaks to the press at a briefing on Wednesday (Yonhap)
"(The allegations) are utterly untrue, and (we) will hold the media (that raised the allegations) strictly responsible for the (wrong) reports," Lee told reporters during his first press meeting in Ban's office in western Seoul.
"We will see what the outcome will be at the press arbitration panel, and based on it, we will take additional legal action," he added.
Last week, Ban's side filed a complaint against the Seoul-based weekly magazine Sisa Journal with the Press Arbitration Commission.
Officials representing Ban claimed the report made by the magazine was ill-founded.
The magazine recently raised the allegations that Ban received around $230,000 from Park Yeon-cha, a local businessman, while serving as South Korea's foreign minister in the 2000s. It cited multiple anonymous sources.
During his press meeting on Thursday, Ban will also deliver a message for national harmony and integration, and explain the activities he has engaged in as the head of the international organization over the past decade.
Touching on the government's proposal to provide security support for Ban, the spokesman said that his team has asked the government to scale back security services to a "minimal, adequate level." (Yonhap)