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Fugitive ferry owner's brother detained for alleged embezzlement

All Headlines 18:13 June 25, 2014

INCHEON/CHEONGJU, South Korea, June 25 (Yonhap) -- The younger brother of the fugitive billionaire who owns the sunken ferry Sewol was formally detained Wednesday pending trial for alleged embezzlement.

Incheon District Court in the western port city of Incheon approved prosecutors' request for an arrest warrant for Yoo Byung-ho, the younger brother of Yoo Byung-eun, the 73-year-old fugitive whose family owns ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

The younger Yoo is accused of borrowing 3 billion won (US$2.94 million) from one of the affiliates run by his elder brother's family, prosecutors said. He allegedly made members of a religious group pay back 1.5 billion won on his behalf while the affiliate suffered losses of 1.5 billion won, they added.

The latest arrest brought to four the total number of Yoo's family and relatives formally detained over the April sinking of the ferry Sewol that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Prosecutors suspect that corruption by Yoo's family resulted in lax safety practices, such as cargo overloading, which ultimately led to the tragedy. The prosecution office has offered a 500 million won bounty for the capture of Yoo Byung-eun. He is still at large despite a massive manhunt across the country.

Meanwhile, a close aide to the fugitive owner was also arrested by police in Suwon, just south of Seoul, on Wednesday, officers said.

According to the North Chungcheong Police Agency, Lee Seok-hwan, an influential member of the religious group, the Evangelical Baptist Church, was arrested at a parking lot after avoiding a manhunt for weeks.


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