South Korea says it will revoke an honorary title given to an American socialite at the center of a scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus, an official said.
A US businessman accused Jill Kelley of misusing her “honorary consul” title by raising it in personal business dealing. Her title, which carries no official responsibility, was brought to light after Petraeus’ scandal was revealed in early November.
“It’s not suitable to the status of honorary consul that she sought to be involved in commercial projects and peddle influence. It’s also inappropriate as honorary consul,” Korean news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun as saying.
Kelley had complained to an FBI agent that she had received harassing e-mails telling her to stay away from Petraeus. The woman sending the mails was later identified as Petraeus’ mistress, Paula Broadwell. During investigations, Kelly was also questioned on “inappropriate” correspondence with US and NATO commander General John Allen.
She invoked her honorary title when she called police after reporters besieged her home, CNN reports.
“I am an honorary consul general… I have inviolability. They should not be on my property. I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well,” Kelley was heard saying in a recording of the call.
A senior South Korean Foreign Ministry official said honorary consuls don’t have diplomatic immunity and rules are much less strict in appointing them, AP reports.