Monday, March 15, 2010

What's a little diplomatic immunity between allies?

The AP is reporting that a US diplomat based in Pusan has fled South Korea after ripping off a local woman of nearly $200,000:
An American diplomat based in South Korea fled to the Philippines after facing charges that he swindled a local woman out of nearly $200,000, police in the southern city of Busan said Monday.

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.
Since the gentleman is not identified, it's not clear if he's a kyopo or not, which might actually affect how this plays out in the press (similarly, it might play differently if the victim is a local Filipina or a local Korean). Given the gambling addiction, it's not as likely that he's a Mormon.

MSNBC is reporting that the diplomat is Dario Tomas (or Tomas Dario?). He is of Filipino descent, which makes sense considering the narrative of the scam that was used (i.e., building a school in the Philippines). And I see Wangkon agreed with me about the possibility of the culprit being kyopo.

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