Ban Ki-moon Update: Economic Policies, Travel Plans and Family Bribery Scandal?

Ban Ki-moon Update: Economic Policies, Travel Plans and Family Bribery Scandal?

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- An advisor to former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a potential presidential contender, on Tuesday offered a glimpse into his economic policy that aims to upgrade South Korea's capitalism model blamed for economic polarization.

   Speaking to Yonhap News Agency, Kwak Seung-jun, an economics professor at Korea University, put forward three key words to outline Ban's economic policy: "warm" market economy, upgraded capitalism and institutions in line with global standards.

   Kwak has been cited as part of Ban's preliminary campaign team consisting of his close aides such as former South Korean Ambassador to the U.N. Kim Sook. The team has reportedly been discussing how to support Ban's political activities to boost his presidential prospects.

   Ban, who is set to return home on Thursday after his 10-year term as U.N. chief, has yet to clearly declare his presidential bid. But he has said he would "give my all" if it would help advance his home country, the strongest signal that he would throw his hat into the ring.

   Kwak, in particular, stressed the need for South Korea's economy to pursue a new model of capitalism that ensures the voluntary redistribution of wealth within the ever-growing private sector and break away from the "old" system that created various problems such as social and economic polarization.

   "The core of capitalism is evolving, and we cannot just stay within the old system," he said.

   Kwak also indicated his support for a tax increase on the wealthy.

   He, in particular, mentioned the Buffett Rule, a tax plan Hillary Clinton backed during her unsuccessful presidential campaign last year. The rule stipulates that any taxpayer making more than $1 million per year must pay a minimum federal tax rate of 30 percent.

   Asked if Ban's campaign is considering an increase in corporate taxes, the professor said, "An overhaul of the taxation system will be a very crucial part. (The overhaul) will cover the entirety of corporate taxes and income taxes."
   Kwak added that rather than the government seeking to artificially modify tax rates, Ban's administration, if elected, would promote the role of the private sector to enhance the tax system.

   "In this way, private firms can survive. Otherwise, (the government) can be seen as an enemy of the citizens, as we have seen in the candlelight vigils (against the current government)," he said.

   Meanwhile, Lee Do-woon, who has recently taken on the role of Ban's spokesman, plans to hold a press briefing at Ban's office in Mapo-gu, western Seoul, at 10 a.m. Wednesday. He informed reporters of the plan in an email message.

   Lee, a former journalist, is expected to give a brief explanation of Ban's future course of action as a politician, observers said.'


NEW YORK, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will make no departure statement when he leaves New York for South Korea this week, aides said Tuesday, as his homecoming is drawing huge attention due to his presidential ambitions.

   Ban, whose 10-year term as U.N. chief expired at the end of last month, is scheduled to take a 1 p.m. flight to Seoul from New York's John F Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday. His return is a focus of attention as he has declared a desire to run for South Korea's president.

   Since last week, Ban has been spending time with his family at a mountain resort near New York and plans to head directly to the airport from the resort. Aides said Ban will wave to well-wishers at the airport, but has no plan to make a departure statement.

   Upon arrival at Incheon International Airport on Thursday afternoon local time, Ban plans to hold a brief question and answer session with reporters before heading off to his home in southern Seoul.

   On Friday, Ban plans to pay his respects at the Seoul National Cemetery before paying a visit to the grave of his late father as well as his 92-year-old mother, living in central South Korea.

   Last month, Ban declared his presidential aspirations, saying in a farewell press conference as U.N. chief that he is ready to give his all if it contributes to the development of the country.

   Opinion polls have long shown Ban is one of the favorites in this year's presidential election. The election, which was originally scheduled for December, could take place much earlier if the Constitutional Court upholds the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.'


Numerous U.S. news outlets are reporting that Ban Ki-moon's brother and nephew are involved in a bribery deal gone terribly wrong.

Apparently, Ban's brother and nephew tried to bribe a Middle Eastern official to buy a building in Vietnam. The brother and nephew went through an intermediary to broker the bribe. However, the 'broker' turned out be a fraudster and ran off with the money!

Nonetheless, Ban Ki-moon's relatives are being charged  are charged with corruption, money laundering and conspiracy.

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