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

Legal

China: Philippines Violating South China Sea Code

China has accused the Philippines of violating a 13-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea with its building work on disputed islets, firing back

Strengthening Danish-Brazilian Cooperation

Brazil continues to be an important area for Danish shipping interests and, with the signing of a new agreement on cooperation with the Brazilian authority ANTAQ

Quad Cities Kicks Off Navy Week

Quad Cities Navy Week kicked off May 4 with a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) presentation by USS Constitution and Explosive Ordnance

Finance

FVF Chenega Completes Sea Trials with MTU Engines

Over the past several months, FVF Chenega, a high-speed car ferry in the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) fleet, was repowered with four new MTU Series 4000 engines.

India to Sign Port Deal with Iran

India to build port in Iran to get more trade with CIS and Gulf India will push ahead this week with plans to build a port in southeast Iran, two sources said,

XPO Acquires Port Trucker Bridge Terminal

XPO Logistics has made a deal to acquire Bridge Terminal Transport (BTT) Services, one of the largest motor carriers serving ports and intermodal facilities in the United States, for $100 million.

Salvage

Accident Reported on Offshore Rig off Mexico

An accident on an offshore rig in the southern Gulf of Mexico has injured 10 people, local media reported on Tuesday, but state oil company Pemex had no immediate details on the incident,

Capsized Trawler Adrift Disappearing Act in South Africa

South Africa’s charity National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was warning fishermen and other boaters in and around the Cape Peninsula and False Bay Coast to be

Giant Hanjin Boxship Catches Fire in Suez

Suez Canal Authority said it controlled a blaze in a British container ship passing the waterway Friday, leaving no human losses.   An ultra-large container

Casualties

Mexican Offshore Rig Accident Kills 2 Workers

Mexican oil company Pemex said an accident on Tuesday has left an offshore maintenance rig in the southern Bay of Campeche listing, killing two workers, but has not affected crude production.

Accident Reported on Offshore Rig off Mexico

An accident on an offshore rig in the southern Gulf of Mexico has injured 10 people, local media reported on Tuesday, but state oil company Pemex had no immediate details on the incident,

Forty Migrants Drowned in Med on Sunday

Around forty migrants died in the Mediterranean on Sunday, according to survivors of the journey who arrived on the southern Italian island of Sicily on Tuesday,

Government Update

Forty Migrants Drowned in Med on Sunday

Around forty migrants died in the Mediterranean on Sunday, according to survivors of the journey who arrived on the southern Italian island of Sicily on Tuesday,

India to Sign Port Deal with Iran

India to build port in Iran to get more trade with CIS and Gulf India will push ahead this week with plans to build a port in southeast Iran, two sources said,

China: Philippines Violating South China Sea Code

China has accused the Philippines of violating a 13-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea with its building work on disputed islets, firing back

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Port Authority Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.1042 sec (10 req/sec)