Extra! Korea

March 15, 2010

American diplomat flees South Korea

Filed under: politics — extrakorea @ 6:28 am

An American diplomat has apparently fled South Korea after swindling a local woman out of about $200,000.

The suspect, a 50-year-old official with the Department of Homeland Security, is accused of taking 220 million won ($194,000) from a widow he had known since 2007. He allegedly told her the money would go toward building a school in the Philippines and promised her a high return on the investment, Busan Haeundae police said.

An investigation later found he had no business plan and gambled her money away, officer Nam Geun-chan said.

The suspect confessed during questioning in November but secretly fled the country on March 3, two days before U.S. authorities were to strip him of diplomatic immunity, Nam said.

The man, who was not identified, had worked in customs in Busan, about 280 miles (450 kilometers) southeast of Seoul, screening U.S.-bound export items, Nam said. He had been granted diplomatic immunity in South Korea because he was considered a diplomat, Nam said.

According to the article, he fled to the Philippines, and may be in hiding there.

How did the woman get this kind of money?

The money was left by her American husband who died in a traffic accident, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, describing the case as “outrageous.”

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