Arrest warrant sought for brother of fugitive ferry owner

By 이현정
  • Published : Jun 15, 2014 - 11:36
  • Updated : Jun 15, 2014 - 11:36
Prosecutors sought an arrest warrant Sunday for the elder brother of the fugitive owner of the sunken ferry Sewol on charges of embezzlement and violation of a law requiring real names in property deals.

The prosecution move came two days after Yoo Byung-ill, 75, was apprehended on a mountain road nearby the sprawling religious compound belonging to the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, about 80 kilometers south of Seoul.

He is the elder brother of Yoo Byung-eun, 73, who is believed to own Chonghaejin Marine Co., the operator of the ferry Sewol that sank off the southwest coast on April 16 and claimed some 300 lives.  

According to prosecutors, the elder Yoo is suspected of having received some 2.5 million won (US$2,450) per month from Chonghaejin Marine as consulting fees for the past few years.

The elder Yoo was grilled over his alleged receipt of consulting fees, the owner family's suspected misappropriation and the whereabouts of the fugitive ferry owner, they added.

A local district court plans to hold a hearing Monday to review the legality of his arrest.

A massive manhunt has been under way for the younger Yoo and his family for weeks, with authorities offering a 500 million won bounty for information leading to his capture and 100 million won for his eldest son, Dae-kyun.

Investigators suspect that corruption by the owner and his family resulted in lax safety practices, such as cargo overloading, and created conditions that ultimately led to the tragedy.

Prosecutors also said they will seek an arrest warrant later Sunday for one of the two senior church followers who are believed to have played a major role in helping the ferry owner avoid the dragnet.

The 64-year-old follower, only identified by her surname Shin, turned herself in to the prosecution on Friday. (Yonhap)