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

Legal

Kenya Charges 9 Foreigners over Heroin Haul

Nine foreign nationals were charged in a Kenyan court on Thursday with trafficking the biggest ever single seizure of drugs at the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa.

Former MSC Manager Sentenced on Bribes Charges

Former Afloat Programs Manager at the United States Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC), Kenny E. Toy, was sentenced to 96 months in prison for receiving bribes, the U.

FERC Approves Freeport LNG Export Project

U.S. federal regulators on Wednesday approved construction of Freeport LNG Development LP's liquefied natural gas export project in Texas. Freeport is the third U.

Finance

Kurdistan Says Crude Cargo Near Texas Legally Sold

A $100 million cargo of crude oil in a tanker near Texas was legally shipped and sold by Kurdistan, lawyers for the autonomous region in Iraq told a U.S. court in a letter seen on Thursday,

Kirby Reports Record Q2 2014

Record 2014 second quarter earnings per share of $1.31 compared with $1.11 in the 2013 second quarter, which included a $0.07 benefit due to the reduction of the United earnout liability.

UK Oil Imports Exceed Exports for First Time in 30 Years

Britain imported more oil products than it exported last year for the first time in 30 years, an official report shows, and analysts say the country is likely to

Salvage

Family Finds Sunken Treasure Off Florida Coast

A Florida family scavenging for sunken treasure on a shipwreck has found the missing piece of a 300-year-old gold filigree necklace sacred to Spanish priests, officials said on Tuesday.

Grounded Freighter Refloated in Lake St. Clair

The Federal Rideau, a 656-foot freighter that had been hard aground in the downbound shipping channel of Lake St. Clair since early Sunday morning, was refloated

S.Korea Ferry Boss's Driver Turns Self In

The driver of a South Korean businessman wanted over the sinking of a ferry that killed 304 people turned himself in on Tuesday, potentially unlocking the mystery

Casualties

Pumps Reach Sinking Shrimper Just in Time

A commercial fishing vessel from Brownsville is slowly making its way back to port, thanks to some quick actions by its crew and Coast Guard units, informs the US Coastguard,

Company Fined for Oil Spill Near Anacortes

Ecology issues $112,500 penalty for sunken vessel.   American Gold Seafoods faces a $112,500 penalty for an oil spill caused by the accidental sinking of its vessel,

Grounded Freighter Refloated in Lake St. Clair

The Federal Rideau, a 656-foot freighter that had been hard aground in the downbound shipping channel of Lake St. Clair since early Sunday morning, was refloated

Government Update

US DOE Approves Oregon LNG Export Project

The U.S. Energy Department said on Thursday it has approved Oregon LNG to export liquefied natural gas, as the Obama administration works through applications to

UK Oil Imports Exceed Exports for First Time in 30 Years

Britain imported more oil products than it exported last year for the first time in 30 years, an official report shows, and analysts say the country is likely to

Former MSC Manager Sentenced on Bribes Charges

Former Afloat Programs Manager at the United States Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC), Kenny E. Toy, was sentenced to 96 months in prison for receiving bribes, the U.

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair 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: 0.0846 sec (12 req/sec)