Lydia Ko’s Father Threatening to sue over ‘damage to Ko image’
Golfer’s father says Internal Affairs report over Korean bank transfer is misleading.
The father of golfing superstar Lydia Ko says he is planning to take legal action against Auckland Korean Society members who he claims have severely damaged Ko’s image.
Last month, an Internal Affairs investigation found that more than $100,000 from a Korean Government bank had been filtered through the society’s bank account to the bank account of Ko’s mother.
Internal Affairs found the activities of the society – a registered charity – could “constitute serious wrongdoing” and issued a formal warning over the way it tried to disguise the Korean Development Bank (KDB) donations in 2012 and 2013.
“The Internal Affairs report is misleading and ultimately has resulted in severely damaging Lydia Ko’s image,” Gil Hong Ko said in a statement.
“Our family is considering legal actions against any individual or organisations making public negative statements based on misleading information and spreading false rumours. We plan to pursue strong legal actions against these people in the areas which we feel they have violated.”
Mr Ko said the attacks on his daughter could have serious consequences in her preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, and New Zealand’s chances of winning a “precious gold medal” in golf.
In a response to Internal Affairs yesterday, the society claimed it was Mr Ko who had requested the money transfer to be made through its accounts and asked for it to be kept secret. A spokesman for Mr Ko said there was no plan to keep the transaction secret.
John Yoo, who authored the Korean Society’s response, said: “Mr Gil Hong Ko confirmed it was not allowed for Lydia Ko to receive cash by USGA [United States Golf Association] and R&A [Rules and Amateur Status] rules … therefore Mr Ko and his supporter visited the Korean Society and met Mr Hong [former president] and requested the money transfer.” The society claimed it released details of the transactions on its websites and a Korean newspaper, Korean Post, but Mr Ko requested the notices be withdrawn.
“[Mr Ko] explained personally it would be criticism [sic] if it became known that they [KDB] were funding a NZ citizen instead of supporting a similarly talented Korean citizen.”
A spokesman for Mr Ko said there was no plan to conceal the transaction, and denied that he had mentioned anything about the golfing rules.
“The reasons why the scholarship funding was handled privately is because although it was a very nice gesture by KDB, the members did not necessarily have the right to know about [it],” said Michael Yim, who is also Lydia Ko’s agent.