SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea will revoke an honorary title given to an American socialite tied to a scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus, officials said Tuesday.
Jill Kelley, the Tampa, Florida, socialite, misused her title as South Korean honorary consul by raising it in unspecified personal business dealings, a Foreign Ministry official in Seoul said. The official, who declined to be named because the matter is still being discussed, wouldn't elaborate and said it's not clear when the title will be revoked.
Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun told South Korean reporters during a visit to Washington that Kelley inappropriately used her title for personal gain.
"It's not suitable to the status of honorary consul that (she) sought to be involved in commercial projects and peddle influence," Kim said, according to Yonhap news agency.
Kelley, 37, unraveled the scandal involving Petraeus that emerged in early November.
Kelley — who lives in a waterfront mansion along one of Tampa's toniest streets — had complained to an FBI agent that she had received threatening emails telling her to stay away from Petraeus, who once commanded Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Petraeus got to know Kelley through parties and events around Tampa.
Agents tracked the emails to Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell, who was having an affair with the former general.
During the investigation, officials also discovered that Kelley had exchanged numerous emails with Gen. John Allen when he was in charge of Central Command. The Pentagon is investigating potentially "inappropriate" correspondence between Kelley and the four-star general who is the top U.S. and NATO commander of the war in Afghanistan.
As the scandal unfolded, so did details about Kelley's life. Accounts of lavish parties at her mansion with politicians and military generals were replaced by reports of her family's financial woes.
Her position as an honorary consul to South Korea was also revealed, as were her efforts to broker business deals on behalf of the country.
A New York businessman said Kelley was introduced to him at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August as someone whose friendship with Petraeus would help facilitate a no-bid deal with South Korea on a coal-gasification project. She would supposedly be in a position to help broker the billion-dollar deal directly with the Korean president, and expected a 2 percent commission, said Adam Victor, president and chief executive officer of TransGas Development Systems.