Korean Prosecutors Raid Home of Ferry's Owner

Joseph Keefe
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Prosecutors investigating the fatal sinking of a South Korean ferry have raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, the head of a family that owns the Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd, the company that operated the ship.

Kim Hoe-Jong, a prosecutor on the case, said Wednesday's raid was part of a probe into "overall corruption in management".

Of the 476 passengers and crew on board the Sewol, 339 were children and teachers on a high school outing to the holiday island of Jeju. Only 174 people have been rescued and the remainder are presumed to have drowned.

The confirmed death toll on Wednesday was 150.

South Korean prosecutors and agencies tend to adopt a blanket approach in raids, rather than targeting specific lines of inquiry.

They raided the home of one of Yoo's sons on Wednesday, but found that he was away and the door was locked and they could not enter the house. They also raided an office in the premises of a branch of a church that Yoo founded.

Financial regulators are also investigating whether the wider conglomerate group illegally used overseas borrowings.

No one from the family or the businesses they own was available for comment.

The finances of Chonghaejin and its complex share structure have come into the spotlight after the ferry disaster, which has shocked South Korea. Yoo was jailed for fraud for four years in the early 1990s.

There is no suggestion that the past financial difficulties in any way contributed to the ferry sinking. Yoo's conviction for fraud in 1992 showed that funds from members of the church he founded, the Evangelical Baptist Church of Korea, were used in his businesses.

Around 1976, Yoo acquired a financially troubled trading company called Samwo Trading in a bid to create jobs for church members and increase their wealth, the transcript of the court case finding said.

The company became deeply integrated with the church. Many of its church members were equity stakeholders of the company and some were even hired by the company, while church assets including its main building were offered as collateral to secure Samwo's finance, it said.

In 1982, when Samwo's cash requirement was at its height, a colluding employee of Yoo even urged its church members to borrow from their acquaintances to finance Yoo's business, the court findings said.

Yoo is not known to have a stake in Chonghaejin or to have any direct management control of the company.

Yoo's two sons, Yoo Dae-kyun and Yoo Hyuck-ki, have direct or indirect stakes in nine business affiliates that include the Sewol operator Chonghaejin, shipbuilder Chonhaiji and cosmetics firm Dapanda Co, through an investment vehicle I-One-I, according to data from South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service.


By Miyoung Kim

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

TMT CEO Files $100m IP Suit Over Vessel Sale

Hsin-Chi Su, Chairman and CEO of Today Makes Tomorrow Group (TMT) launched a suit in Texas federal court on July 28, 2014, alleging that a planned bankruptcy sale of three company ships, including M.

Chariot Agrees Brazil Farm Out with AziLat

Chariot Oil & Gas Limited, the Atlantic margins focused oil and gas exploration company, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Chariot Brasil Petróleo e Gás Ltda.

'Double Jeopardy – Trial by Media, Trial by Law' London Opening

BIMCO notes that the highly acclaimed "Double Jeopardy - trial by media, trial by law" first showcased at the BIMCO AGM in Dubai earlier this year is to be brought

Finance

Transocean Fleet Update Summary

Transocean Ltd. today issued a monthly fleet update summary which includes new contracts, changes to existing contracts and changes in estimated planned out-of-service

Country’s Largest Floating Drydock Coming to Portland

The country’s largest floating drydock, the Vigorous, is headed for Portland this weekend. The drydock, a piece of equipment used to lift vessels as large as cruise ships out of the water,

Mozambique: $30b Invested for 2018 LNG Export

More than $30 billion will be invested initially in Mozambique's natural gas sector to build capacity to produce 20 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG),

Salvage

Signet Tows Aircraft Carrier on Final Voyage

The final voyage of aircraft carrier USS Saratoga begins today. From the Eastern Hemisphere to the Western Hemisphere, the USS Saratoga has made her mark around the globe,

Ohio River Reopens as Oil Spill Clean-up Progresses

A 15-mile section of the Ohio River was reopened for limited traffic on Wednesday as clean-up of a 5,000-gallon fuel oil spill continued, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Wednesday.

Search Suspended for Man Overboard near Cedar Bayou

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Tuesday for a man who went missing after his shrimp boat overturned Monday near Cedar Bayou on the Houston Ship Channel.

Casualties

Coast Guard Medevacs Seafarer From Tanker off Galveston

A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew medevaced a 32-year-old crewmember off an Italian-flagged tanker Wednesday, after he suffered an injury from a snapped fender

USCG Rescue Fisherman from Western Lake Erie

The Coast Guard rescued a fisherman from western Lake Erie after he launched an emergency distress flare Wednesday afternoon, near South Bass Island, Ohio. The

Update to Fire Damage to Australian Patrol Boat

Armidale Class Patrol Boat HMAS Bundaberg suffered significant damage due to a fire which occurred on Monday, August 11, 2014 in Brisbane. The boat was undergoing

Government Update

Mozambique: $30b Invested for 2018 LNG Export

More than $30 billion will be invested initially in Mozambique's natural gas sector to build capacity to produce 20 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG),

Cuba Struggles to Attract Investors Despite Reforms

Cuba has yet to attract new foreign investors despite launching two major initiatives in the past year, a sign of the lingering caution over doing business with

Revision Proposed for Fishing Vessel Cargo Regs

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) proposed revisions to its regulations for commercial fishing vessels carrying flammable or combustible liquid cargos in bulk. The

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2186 sec (5 req/sec)