|'Friends, Seoulites, countrymen'|
Last year Ahn was accused of manipulating the stock market in a case which goes back to 2001 but as everyone does it, it wasn't thought to be a problem until he ventured into the political arena where it could be used against him. Ahn's increasing public pronouncements and concert tour titled "I'm not running for office but..." in which he gave a series of lectures complaining about things that upset him, seemed to make his aspirations to power clear and led to calls for him to be formally charged. Prosecutors are now said to be looking into the case. But ironically analysts believe the move has forced Ahn's hand, and he now the die is cast and he has to run for office in order to enjoy the immunity from public prosecution that Korean politicians enjoy by convention.
Ahn has received popular support for his non-campaign. In one huge rally recently, the common herd tried to offer him a makeshift crown to the Republic of Korea, but he refused it three times, though some observers noted each time gentler than the last, the third time lingering on it. Ahn later said the incident was mere foolery, but the rabble had shouted, clapped their hands, held up their phones and exhaled such an amount of stinking breath when Ahn refused it that it almost choked him, for he swooned and fell down at it.
Earlier this year Ahn, Korea's foremost anti-virus entrepreneur, star of television's hit comedy Community and movie blockbuster series, The Hangover, traveled to kiss the ring of Bill Gates – whose frequently compromised operating system he credited with laying the foundations for his successful business. Gates is believed to have said that he had no opinion on Ahn running – widely seen to be a signal clearing Ahn and indicating that everyone else in the Microsoft-dominated Korean IT industry should support him.
Officially, Ahn's meeting with Bill Gates was to seek guidance on the founding of a charitable foundation which would be used to raise his political profile prior to an election. Gates was said to have told Ahn not to just donate money but also to use it to try and seek to resolve some kind of social conflict with it, and Ahn reportedly said that he would never have thought of that and was glad to have traveled half-way around the world for this revelation, which was widely reported in the media. Ahn denied the trip was an election non-campaign stunt, saying that men willingly believe what they wish.
Believing that a successful run for office will mysteriously help his huge anti-virus empire which stretches from Busan in the south to Seoul in the North, plebeian investors have rushed to buy AhnLab stock, making Ahn even richer.
In recent months rival politicians have promised government initiatives to bolster Korea's cyber defenses after incursions by Chinese barbarian tribes repeatedly breached the Republic's Internet borders - a move that could ultimately hurt AhnLab as its business is largely based on citizens needing to protect themselves. But Ahn has made no such campaign promise, "because officially he is not campaigning", according to a spokesman for his campaign team.
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