SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Korea Bizwire) – Prosecutors said Monday they have launched a probe into allegations that South Korea’s ambassador to Ethiopia sexually harassed several embassy workers and volunteers.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office will review a complaint filed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs against Ambassador Kim Moon-hwan and determine whether to summon him for questioning, according to the office.
In August, the ministry lodged the complaint seeking an investigation into the suspicions raised against the diplomat after conducting a special in-house probe into the case.
He is accused of making inappropriate physical contact with a female embassy employee on the way to her residence and having drinks with female volunteers from a ministry-affiliated agency in an “improper” manner.
The ministry has said Kim’s alleged sexual misdeeds were confirmed through information gathered from various channels.
Kim has denied any wrongdoing, saying it is a misunderstanding and any such physical contact must have been made while he was “trying to console” the staff over certain issues. He has reportedly returned home amid the scandal.
It is the latest in a series of cases of irregularities involving South Korean diplomats overseas. An official at the country’s embassy in Ethiopia was sacked in July after he was found to have sexually assaulted a female staff member.
The ministry has collected cases of its diplomats abusing their power over lower-ranking and lower-paid contracted staffers at overseas missions as part of efforts to strengthen their work discipline.
About 40 such cases have been reported, of which some 10 need internal investigation, according to the ministry.