Nephew of Former U.N. Chief Ban Pleads Guilty in Bribery Case

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A nephew of former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded guilty to foreign bribery charges in connection with his role in a scheme to bribe a foreign official in the Middle East to secure a real estate deal.

Joo Hyun Bahn, a.k.a. Dennis Bahn, a New Jersey-based real estate agent, and his father Ban Ki-sang were charged with conspiracy last year. The pair were accused of paying millions of dollars and using their family name to induce the official to persuade a sovereign wealth fund to rescue a failed real estate deal in Vietnam.

An indictment said a $500,000 bribe was paid to a local businessman to arrange a $2 million bribe of the foreign official. But the government said in court papers that the half million dollars was instead wasted by the businessman on lavish expenses, perhaps because he didn’t have the connections he boasted about.

Dennis Bahn faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced. Ban Ki-sang has yet to be arrested.

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