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Ban Ki-moon Ex-UN Secretary-General's brother, nephew arraigned for corruption

Ban's relatives are accused of offering money to a Middle Eastern official, through an American middleman.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waves as he departs from UN Headquarters on December 30, 2016, in New York play

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waves as he departs from UN Headquarters on December 30, 2016, in New York

(AFP)

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's younger brother and nephew have been charged with conspiracy to bribe a government official, BBC reports.

Ban's relatives are accused of offering money to a Middle Eastern official, through an American middleman.

They allegedly bribed the official to use state funds to buy their building project.

Ban, who served as UN secretary-general from 2007 until 2016, is said to be unaware of the allegations leveled against his relatives.

According to prosecutors, in the early 2013 the South Korean construction firm Keangnam, of which Mr Ban's brother Ban Ki-sang was an executive, was faced with growing debt and sought to sell a building complex in Vietnam known as Landmark 72.

In a 39-page indictment unsealed on Tuesday at a Manhattan courthouse, prosecutors alleged that he and his son Joo Hyan "Dennis" Bahn, a Manhattan estate agent, stood to make millions of dollars in commission on the sale, valued at up to $800m (£657m).

US officials say that the two men paid millions of dollars in bribes and tried to trade on the prominence of their South Korean family name in order to persuade a Middle Eastern official from an unnamed country to arrange a purchase of the complex by that country's sovereign wealth fund.

The paper indictment also says that a $500,000 initial bribe was paid to US businessman Malcolm Harris who presented himself as an agent of the official, with another $2 million promised upon the closing of the sale.

Harris was said to have fled with the money.

Bahn, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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