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On Scandal, ICP Asks UN If Ban Raised Real Estate to Qatar Emir As Nephew Said

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 18 -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is in his native South Korea for four days and Press questions remain unanswered by the UN about his links to the scandal surrounding the suicide of South Korean businessman Sung Wan-jong, and his own nephew Joo-hyun "Dennis" Bahn. Inner City Press asked the UN on May 15, video here.

 On May 18, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq an event more specific question: did Ban raise any of its relatives' real estate projects, for example Landmark 72 in Vietnam, to the Emir of Qatar in a meeting on September 24, 2013?

  Haq repeated that Ban is not involved, that he and Ban's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric have "nothing to add." On May 15, Haq told Inner City Press that the UN does not have to respond about any relative of Ban who is not a UN staff member, even if they do business with, or with the name of, the UN and Ban. Inner City Press has raised that higher within the UN.

  The JoongAng Daily reports that its affiliate JBTC has obtained an email in which Ban's nephew Bahn Joo-hyun wrote:

“QIA said the emir of Qatar had an official meeting with the UN Secretary General at the United Nations [Headquarters] at 11:30 a.m., and [Secretary General Ban] mentioned the Landmark 72 upon request of [Ban Ki-sang]" - Ban's brother.

  Using the time 11:30 a.m., Inner City Press searched past versions of Ban Ki-moon's schedule and found such a meeting:

"September 24, 2013, 11:30 am    NLB SG Conf Rm 3rd flr The Secretary-General with H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar"

 But the UN's read-out for that meeting did not mention real estate:

"The Secretary-General met today with His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar.  The Secretary-General reiterated his call for a political solution to the crisis in Syria, and expressed gratitude to Qatar for its support to the Central Emergency Response Fund and other generous humanitarian assistance.  They discussed the Palestine-Israel issue and also the importance of United Nations political efforts in Yemen.  The Secretary-General thanked the Amir for Qatari support on the Alliance of Civilizations, sustainable development and climate change.  

New York, 24 September 2013."

  The Alliance of Civilizations is headed by Qatar's former Permanent Representative to the UN. (On May 18, 2015, Inner City Press also asked Haq for Ban Ki-moon's response to Qatar detaining BBC journalist Mark Lobel while he was reporting on the treatment of migrant workers in the run up to the World Cup there; Haq's and the UN's response seems muted.)

   It is reported that Ban's nephew Ban got business trying to sell off a Sung-linked skyscraper in Vietnam by saying that Ban had discussed the project with Emir of Qatar (on whose private jet Ban has flown), and by reportedly forging a letter of commitment from Qatar's sovereign wealth fund.

  On May 14, Ban's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric replied to Inner City Press that Ban has "no connection" with this nephew - strange, just as a matter of genetics.

 On May 15, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq a closer question: to confirm that Ban's nephew Bahn has worked for the real estate firm Colliers, and the Colliers has done business with UN.

  (Bahn's LinkedIn page lists him at Colliers, whose Vice Chairman Andrew Roos says "Some of his major clients include various divisions of the United Nations, including its Joint Pension Fund... For the United Nations, he has been responsible for more than 500,000 square feet of leasing transactions.")

 Despite this set-up, Haq insisted that the UN does not have to, or does not, respond about family members if they are not UN staff.

 But what if the Secretary General's family member does BUSINESS with the UN?  Haq insisted the UN will not comment, that added that he faced similar questions "ten years ago," apparently an allusion to Kojo Annan and the Mercedes in what's called the Oil for Food scandal. To this has the UN sunk. Video here and embedded below.

 Inner City Press will be asking again, if it is legitimate for the UN to say it will not answer any questions about high official's family members using the UN connections to get business and going business with the UN.  Here is what UN deputy spokesperson Haq said, and then the transcript


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