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 February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Zamakona Yards' Commitment to Well-being

Recently employees of Zamakona Yards participated in a training course for maintaining Health, Safety and Environment (HSE). The theoretical practice focused on working at heights,

GasLog Post 4Q 2014 Results

GasLog Ltd. and its subsidiaries an international owner, operator and manager of liquefied natural gas carriers, today reported its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended December 31,

Chassis Pools for Port of Long Beach

Three companies that own the vast majority of chassis serving the San Pedro Bay ports are on track to activate a “gray chassis fleet” of truck-trailers on March 1,

Finance

Jinhui Shipping Plummets to Loss

Norway listed dry bulk shipper Jinhui Shipping said the tough market that owners faced last year will become tougher in 2015.   Dry bulk shipping market Environment

Berenberg in $1.1bln Box Bid

The world's second-oldest bank Joh. Berenberg Gossler & Co. KG is lining up a new fund worth EUR 1bn ($1.1bn) for the containership sector.   A report appeared

GasLog Post 4Q 2014 Results

GasLog Ltd. and its subsidiaries an international owner, operator and manager of liquefied natural gas carriers, today reported its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended December 31,

Casualties

Dutch Chief Mate Sentenced for Fatal Collision

Gerardus Chapel, the chief mate at the helm of the dredger that collided with a sailing yacht at the entrance to the River Orwell in Suffolk last summer, has received a six-month sentence.

More Bodies Found in Bangladesh Ferry Disaster

Nine bodies were retrieved from a river in central Bangladesh on Wednesday, said Harun-ur Rashid, a regional police official, bringing to 79 the number of people

Lysblink Seaways to Be Towed to Shelter

Cargo ship Lysblink Seaways, which ran aground on Scotland’s west coast February 18, will be transported to shelter this afternoon after a successful ship-to-ship

Government Update

LA, Long Beach Ports Cooperation Approved

Federal regulators approve expanded working pact for Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles to cooperate on congestion relief   The ports of Long Beach and

Mexico Approves 5 Shallow Water Areas in Round One Oil Tender

Mexico has approved the terms for five shallow water areas containing around 355 million barrels of oil equivalent as part of its Round One tender to open up the country's oil fields,

Dredging Project to Protect Virginia Shoreline

Outer Continental Shelf sand will protect infrastructure, restore dunes and habitat   The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Naval Air Station Oceana at Dam Neck,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction 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: 0.1849 sec (5 req/sec)