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

Legal

CMA CGM Opens Two Offices

CMA CGM Opens a new branch in Constantine, (Algeria) and an agency in Sihanoukville, (Combodia) Following are the addresses in the respective countries: CMA CGM Algérie,

MMEA Recover Hijacked Tanker

A hijacked Malaysian coastal tanker has been recovered by the prompt actions of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) off the coast of Malaysia. The

Scorpio Takes Delivery of STI Veneto

Scorpio Tankers Inc. has taken delivery of STI Veneto, an LR2 product tanker from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. This vessel will begin a voyage for 60 days at approximately $32,

Finance

Scorpio Takes Delivery of STI Veneto

Scorpio Tankers Inc. has taken delivery of STI Veneto, an LR2 product tanker from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. This vessel will begin a voyage for 60 days at approximately $32,

Adani Group Revamps Businesses

Adani Enterprises Limited together with its subsidiaries Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (“APSEZ”) and Adani Power Limited (“APL”) today announced

PHA Budgets $ 275 mi for Capital Improvements

In 2015, the Port of Houston Authority has budgeted $275 million for various capital improvement projects. About $184 million is being allocated to its container

Salvage

Fugitive Treasure Hunter Arrested in Florida

An Ohio man who recovered as much as $400 million in gold from a shipwreck has been arrested in Florida after two years on the run and was scheduled to appear in federal court on Wednesday.

ms Veendam Rescues Pilot Off Maui Coast, Hawaii

On Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, at 5:21 p.m. local time while en route to Lahaina, Hawaii, Holland America Line’s ms Veendam answered a request for assistance from

ASA Mission Statement Revised to Expand Reach

The American Salvage Association has revised its mission statement to increase its area of influence beyond North America, complemented by a new logo that reflects the expanded direction.

Casualties

5 Rescued from Sinking Vessel off Monterey Coast

Coast Guard rescued five people from a sinking 65-foot sailing vessel approximately 120 miles off the Monterey coast, Saturday. At approximately 8 a.m. Saturday,

MMEA Recover Hijacked Tanker

A hijacked Malaysian coastal tanker has been recovered by the prompt actions of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) off the coast of Malaysia. The

Maintenance Woes Led to Digby Ferry Grounding

Maintenance deficiencies and inadequate emergency procedures led to November 2013 grounding of Princess of Acadia in Digby, Nova Scotia    Maintenance deficiencies

Government Update

MMEA Recover Hijacked Tanker

A hijacked Malaysian coastal tanker has been recovered by the prompt actions of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) off the coast of Malaysia. The

PHA Budgets $ 275 mi for Capital Improvements

In 2015, the Port of Houston Authority has budgeted $275 million for various capital improvement projects. About $184 million is being allocated to its container

Shippers Must Monitor Greek Government Changes

Moore Stephens says shipping must monitor developments in wake of Greek government change   International accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens says

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar
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: 0.1069 sec (9 req/sec)