By Kim Young-jin
The sex scandal involving former U.S. intelligence chief David Petraeus has a local twist.
Jill Kelley, a key player in the events that led to the CIA director's resignation was recently named as an honorary consul to Korea, officials here confirmed Wednesday.
"Jill Kelley is an honorary consul representing Korea in the city of Tampa, Fla.," a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
Korea has 15 honorary consuls in the United States, mostly in larger cities without a consular office, the official said. The unpaid role is given to those who play a bridging role between the two countries.
Kelley, 37, a socialite in Tampa with military ties, had complained to the FBI of receiving threatening email earlier this year.
That prompted an investigation in which the FBI discovered that the sender of the email, Paula Broadwell had an extramarital affair with Petraeus. Broadwell had penned a biography of the former four-star general.
General John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is under investigation for alleged "inappropriate communications" with Kelley, who has been described as an unofficial "social liaison" at an Air Force Base in Florida. The correspondence reportedly includes tens of thousands of email. Allen has denied wrongdoing.
"I am pretty sure we didn't know that she had a relationship with the people" involved in the scandal, the Seoul official said.
U.S. media reported that Kelley helped build support for the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that went into force in March. The official could not confirm this claim.
Another official said that though Kelley has not been indicted or punished, "if she is found to be problematic, she will be relieved from the post of honorary consul."
The official said Seoul notifies the U.S. State Department before naming honorary consul, who do not have any official duties.
The scandal has gripped the U.S. since Petraeus resigned abruptly Friday, dominating the news cycle just days after the reelection of President Barack Obama.