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The National Tax Service and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service are joining hands to probe the tax records of the fugitive owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, Yoo Byung-eon, and his family. The NTS will be able to get information from the IRS about the real estate holdings and income tax filings by Yoo's second son Hyuk-ki, who has a U.S. Green Card.Seoul and Washington signed a treaty in 2010 to cooperate in investigating individuals The IRS has access to a wide range of financial information, raising hopes at the NTS of getting a clearer picture of the taxes owed by the Yoo family.Once charges are filed, the NTS can seek to collect unpaid income and corporate taxes, as well as seizing additional property.
Prosecutors began questioning the eldest son of the late owner of the ferry Sewol Saturday, a day after he was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement related to the ship's sinking that left more than 300 people killed or missing. ...Yoo Dae-kyun, 44, the son of Yoo Byung-eun, had been at large since the ferry's sinking off South Korea's southwest coast on April 16. On Friday, he was arrested by police at a hideout in a town just outside Seoul together with Park Soo-kyung, a 34-year-old female bodyguard. ...The son told investigators that he fled on fears that he may suffer difficulties as his 73-year-old father had during a probe decades ago on Odaeyang, a religious cult, of which his father was a key member. ...Prosecutors said the younger Yoo and his bodyguard were found to have holed up at a small Yongin flat to evade a massive police manhunt in the past three months. ...Right after his arrest, the junior Yoo told police that he had not known the news of his father's death. ...Many of Yoo's other family members, including his wife and elder brother, have been arrested following the ferry disaster. The senior Yoo's daughter Som-na is fighting an extradition bid from Paris, and his second son, Hyuk-ki, is also wanted on corruption charges but is hiding abroad.
Prosecutors on Sunday filed for arrest warrants for the captured eldest son of the sunken ferry Sewol's owner on charges of embezzlement and a 34-year-old woman who helped him escape a police manhunt.Yoo Dae-kyun, 44, the eldest son of Yoo Byung-eun, the billionaire owner of the ill-fated ferry and the leader of a Christian religious sect, was captured by the police at a small studio in Yongin, just south of Seoul, on Friday. He had been on the police's wanted list since the ferry accident on April 16 left more than 300 people dead or missing.
The picture does the situation no justice: a big bulky man under the protection of a slender female bodyguard. Yoo Dae-gyun, 44, the eldest son of the deceased Yoo Byung-eun, once the nation's most wanted man, was arrested Friday with Park Soo-kyung, 34, a certified international taekwondo judge, at an apartment in Yongin, south of Seoul, where the two were believed to have been holed up together for more than two months. Prosecutors sought a detention warrant for Dae-gyun, Sunday, on charges of embezzling billions of won from his father's companies. He is suspected of stealing 5.6 billion won ($5.4 million) from subsidiaries of Semo Group, owned by his late father. Park is charged with aiding the fugitive. According to the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office, the two had known each other for years. Park allegedly first met the junior Yoo in college. Park's mother, Shin Myung-hee, was a close aide to Yoo, the de facto owner of the sunken ferry Sewol. Park's strong loyalty to the Salvation Sect, the cult led by the senior Yoo, is seen to be a link between the two. She served as a judge in the taekwondo world championships in Mexico last year, and is said to be fluent in English. Taekwondo officials were quoted as saying that they didn't know Park belonged to the cult, with some showing surprise at the calmness she exhibited when she was taken into custody. "The woman I knew was fragile," one said. Some observers speculate they are lovers. Footage from the surveillance cameras, shown by cable channel YTN, pictured the two showing no fear when they were surrounded by investigators at the time of their arrest. Neither of them put up any resistance and apparently responded to investigators' questions. Dae-gyun was separated from Park, who was escorted by a plainclothes policewoman, by a few meters,. Investigators suspect that Dae-gyun was actively involved in the management of Cheonghaejin Marine, which operated the ferry, and other group affiliates. If he is found to have been involved in Semo Group management, he could be held accountable for the April 16 sinking of the Sewol, which left more than 300 people dead or missing. The prosecution had been seeking Yoo and his family members over a host of alleged wrongdoings believed to have contributed to the ferry disaster. They are suspected of stealing combined 200 billion won from Semo Group affiliates, leading to their poor financial health. Prosecutors believe this contributed to the inappropriate management of Cheonghaejin Marine. Yoo's second son, Hyuk-ki, who had been touted as a successor to his father's once flourishing empire, is wanted on corruption charges but is believed to be hiding in the United States. He is suspected of stealing 56 billion won from Semo Group companies.Yoo's eldest daughter, Seom-na, 48, also known as Ennette Yoo, has been detained in France since May 27, awaiting an extradition hearing. Seom-na, suspected of embezzling 49 billion won, fled the country after the Sewol sank off the nation's southern coast. The hearing will be held in September.
The arrest on Friday of Yoo Dae-gyun, the eldest son of ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon, has dominated media coverage over the weekend, but perhaps more intriguing is the woman who was arrested with him. Park Soo-kyung (34) is a certified international taekwondo referee who became popular for her looks. She judged taekwondo matches right up until the April 16 ferry disaster. Park Young-ho (no relation) of the Gyeonggi-do Taekwondo Association said, "I tried to call to tell her that various matches were postponed after the ferry accident but couldn’t reach her." Park Soo-kyung started serving as a senior referee in the Gyeonggi-do Taekwondo Association seven years ago. She took around a year off after having two children, but other than that she continued working as a referee.Unlike the icy demeanor she displayed before reporters after her arrest on Friday, barely batting an eyelid as she faced a barrage of camera flashes, her colleagues paint a picture of a warm personality. One colleague said, "She's a very affectionate person and really loves children. When I called her, she often said she was doing some kind of volunteer work, but I had no idea that was connected” to the cult led by Yoo senior.Park showed no signs of remorse for helping one of the country's most-wanted fugitives evade arrest. As she entered the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in handcuffs, she gave off an aura of a warrior rather than a criminal, in a stark contrast to the younger Yoo, who appeared tired and weary as he was dragged away. The two have known each other since childhood. The elder Yoo created the crackpot cult in which Park's mother was a key figure. Her mother played a crucial part in helping the elder Yoo's escape and her daughter did the same thing for Yoo Dae-kyun. Now both mother and daughter are in jail.Park Soo-kyung is being taken to Incheon District Prosecutors Office on Friday. Park Soo-kyung is being taken to Incheon District Prosecutors' Office on Friday.Park has been separated from her husband, whom she is divorcing, for the past eight months while living with her two sons in an apartment in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province. But she left her children in the care of a nanny when she escaped with the younger Yoo. Her husband is also a member of the millennial cult and apparently worked for an affiliate of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine. Park's husband told police he went to the apartment when he heard from the nanny that she had not been paid and took care of his children after that.There are rumors that Park and Yoo Dae-gyun are lovers, but prosecutors declined to comment.
On July 27, prosecutors announced that they confirmed additional charges against Yoo Dae-kyun (44), eldest son of former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byeong-eon--Yoo Dae-kyun embezzled 3.5 billion won from the operator of the Sewol, Cheonghaejin Marine Company.As authorities confirmed that Yoo Byeong-eon, former chairman of Cheonghaejin Marine Company, his older brother, and his son Dae-kyun embezzled large sums from the company, it now appears that Cheonghaejin Marine Company played the role of a “private safe” of the Yoo family. Prosecutors believe that the illegal expansion of the Sewol and the excessive cargo, which were causes of the ferry accident, are related to the challenges in the management of the company due to the embezzlement of the Yoo family.The special investigation team (led by second assistant chief prosecutor Kim Hoi-jong) at the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office investigating the corruption of the actual owners of the Sewol requested an arrest warrant for Yoo Dae-kyun this day for charges of embezzlement and breach of trust according to the Additional Punishment Act on Specific Economic Crimes. Prosecutors stated that Yoo Dae-kyun received nearly 9.9 billion won from affiliates as consulting fees and for trademark rights. Prosecutors had estimated the amount of money Dae-kyun received by embezzlement and breach of trust to reach 5.6 billion won, but in the course of the investigation the amount increased by more than 4.3 billion won. In particular, Yoo received 3.5 billion won from Cheonghaejin Marine Company. Yoo acknowledged the fact that he had regularly received money for trademark rights and such from Cheonghaejin, but is denying his charges claiming that he had received them in a fair trade.His father, Yoo Byeong-eon received 15 million won each month as “chairman” of Cheonghaejin Marine Company from March 2013 until February this year. Yoo’s older brother Byeong-il (75) was arrested and is being tried for having received a total of 135 million won on 90 occasions as advisory fees. Dae-kyun along with his late father and uncle had received huge amounts of money from Cheonghaejin every month. Meanwhile, the captain and crew of the Sewol received only 1.5 million to 2.5 million won as a monthly salary.However, there is a limit to uncovering the conspiracy connected to the actual owners of the Sewol with just the arrest of Yoo Dae-kyun. The “body,” Yoo Byeong-eon is dead, and in the charges of embezzlement and breach of trust concerning Chairman Yoo’s family, which is estimated to be at a scale of 240 billion won, Chairman Yoo accounts for 129 billion won, his second son Hyeok-gi (42) accounts for 55.9 billion won, and eldest daughter Seom-na (48) accounts for 49.2 billion won. Compared to them, Dae-kyun’s crime is only “feather” weight. Unless the authorities quickly arrest Yoo Hyeok-gi, who played a key role in the management of an affiliate as the successor to Chairman Yoo and Kim Pil-bae (76), former CEO of Munjin Media and the closest aide to Chairman Yoo, the prosecutors will have difficulty uncovering the truth.This day, prosecutors requested an arrest warrant for Park Soo-kyung (34, female) who assisted Dae-kyun’s escape, and Ha (35, female), who provided Dae-kyun with food. Prosecutors stated that their plan to question the suspects without detaining them is valid as long as Yang Hoi-jeong (56), former Chairman Yoo’s driver, and Kim Myeong-suk (59), known as “Mother Kim” who oversaw Yoo’s escape turn themselves in by the end of this month. The Incheon District Court is scheduled to determine the warrants’ validity for the three including Dae-kyun at 2 p.m. on July 28.
Hyuk-ki, aka Kieth Yoo, is the last remaining of Yoo's children not in custody. He was quite instrumental in promoting the AHAE brand in France and England. He's believed to be in the US.
The investigation into the family of Yoo Byung-eun and the Sewol ferry disaster is now focusing on the dead billionaire's second son and business heir, Hyuk-ki, 42. He is believed to be hiding in the United States, but if apprehended, would face charges of stealing 56 billion won ($55 million) from affiliates of Semo Group, owned by his late father. Yoo's eldest son, Dae-gyun, is now under arrest. His elder sister, Seom-na, 48, is in France, fighting an extradition request, while second sister Sang-na, 46, is also believed to be in France. Investigators believe that the second son was more deeply involved in Semo Group management than his older brother, who is a sculptor. The eldest son is suspected of receiving 9.9 billion won from subsidiaries of Semo Group. Hyuk-ki's whereabouts have remained unknown since the investigation into the Yoo family began in April. Investigators have asked Interpol to issue a warrant for Hyuk-ki, who has permanent U.S. resident status, seeking an immediate extradition. Some say he has already fled to Mexico. ''Unfortunately, we haven't been able to locate Hyuk-ki,'' said a prosecutor at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office. ''The Ministry of Justice asked the FBI to launch a joint manhunt. Interpol also put him on its wanted list. But no progress has been made. It may take longer than expected, but we will eventually get him.'' Investigators are also eager to secure custody of Seom-na, also known as Ennette Yoo, who has been detained in France since May 27. She is awaiting an extradition hearing, which will be held in September. Seom-na is suspected of embezzling 49 billion won. She fled the country days after the Sewol sank off the nation's southern coast on April 16. As a whole, the Yoo family is suspected of stealing a combined 240 billion won from Semo Group affiliates, causing the poor financial health of the companies. Prosecutors believe this contributed to mismanagement of Cheonghaejin Marine. If this is proven in court, the government could confiscate their assets to compensate the bereaved families of Sewol victims. In the meantime, Kim Myung-sook, 59, who allegedly masterminded an escape plan for the late Yoo, turned herself in early Monday morning, along with Yoo Hee-ja, 52, the wife of Yoo's chauffeur Yang Hoi-jeong. Arrest warrants were issued for both on charges of hiding and aiding fugitives. They voluntarily showed up at the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office at 8:30 a.m. Kim and Yoo Hee-ja will undergo questioning without being detained, according to the prosecution. Kim owned a restaurant near Geumsuwon, a stronghold of the Salvation Sect led by the deceased Yoo, in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province. The Incheon District Court issued a detention warrant Monday for Dae-gyun and his bodyguard Park Soo-kyung, 34. Both were arrested at an apartment in Yongin, south of Seoul, Friday. Park, a certified international taekwondo judge, is charged with aiding the fugitive.
The eldest son of fugitive ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon never once set foot outside a small flat south of Seoul the entire time he spent hiding from police. Yoo Dae-gyun (44) was finally arrested on Friday after more that three months on the run, just four days after forensics identified his father's corpse.Prosecutors quoted him as saying he was unable to leave the flat because of the CCTV in front of the door.A CCTV camera was installed just above the front door of the room, where Yoo was hiding with Park Soo-kyung (34), the daughter of a senior member of the elder Yoo's crackpot cult. ...
A total of 43 people have been indicted for allegedly committing various irregularities in the shipping industry that have been cited as a principal cause of April's ferry disaster, prosecutors said Wednesday.Investigators at Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in the western port city announced the outcome of their expanded investigation into corruption and malpractice in the shipping industry.The suspects, including a former chief of the Korea Shipping Association (KSA), a nonprofit organization in charge of inspecting and certifying vessels on behalf of the government, are charged with embezzlement, breach of trust and tax evasion, they said.Lee In-soo, a former head of the KSA, is under suspicion of embezzling some 260 million won (US$251,500) for personal gain, while failing to implement the organization's duty to supervise ship operators.Lee, who formerly worked as a ranking official at the maritime ministry, which has oversight over the industry, is considered one of the "bureaucratic mafia," which refers to retired government officials who land jobs regulating business interests.The much-denounced practice has been blamed for fostering cozy ties between regulators and businesses, contributing to sloppy safety checks on the ill-fated ferry.Most senior officials at the KSA are former bureaucrats from the ministry, prosecutors said.Another KSA official, surnamed Kim, is under suspicion of taking kickbacks from ship operators in exchange for overlooking various illegal acts of the companies, prosecutors said. Kim, who formerly worked as a ranking official at the Coast Guard, landed high-paying jobs at agencies after his retirement, they added. ...
A U.S. government agency investigating foreign fugitives said Monday it is working closely with Seoul, amid the manhunt for a son of the owner of the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol.Yoo Hyuk-ki, second son of Yoo Byung-eun, the dead owner of the ferry, has reportedly fled to the United States to avoid arrest on charges of embezzlement and other irregularities that are believed to have contributed to the ferry's April 17 sinking.More than 300 people were killed in the accident.Reports have said that the Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is pursuing Yoo and aides to his family, and the agency has narrowed down Yoo's whereabouts through credit card records."ICE Homeland Security Investigations Seoul works closely with our foreign law enforcement counterparts," said Brandon A. Montgomery, ICE's public affairs officer. "However, ICE does not confirm or deny if we are conducting an active investigation."The official made the remark in response to a Yonhap News Agency query whether the agency is pursuing Yoo and other officials related to the Sewol's sinking.
The eldest son of the late shipping tycoon blamed for April's ferry disaster partially denied embezzlement charges Wednesday at a court hearing.Yoo Dae-kyun, 44, the son of Yoo Byung-eun, is charged with misappropriating about 7.39 billion won ($7.28 million) from the ferry Sewol operator Chonghaejin Marine Co. and six other affiliates between May 2002 and December 2013."(Yoo) accepts most of the related facts in the arraignment," Yoo's lawyer said during the first trial session held at a district court in this western port city.The lawyer, however, argued that some clauses of a law on specific economic crimes were not applied properly and that embezzlement charges should be brought separately for each affiliate.The younger Yoo, meanwhile, requested that the court temporarily release him from jail to attend his father's funeral, which is slated for Saturday.Under the law, the confinement of a suspect can be suspended when there is "considerable reason," with his or her place of stay limited. Law enforcement authorities had sought Yoo Byung-eun -- a religious figure and ex-convict -- and Dae-kyun, believing that their alleged corruption may have contributed to the April 16 disaster that left more than 300 people, mostly high school students, dead or missing.The younger Yoo was arrested at a hideout in a town just outside Seoul together with Park Soo-kyung, a 34-year-old female bodyguard, on July 25, three days after the discovery of his father's badly decomposed body.At the same hearing, Park pleaded guilty to charges of assisting Yoo escape the police manhunt, saying that she had helped him because she had a close relationship with Yoo and his family.Many of the elder Yoo's other family members, including his wife and elder brother, have been indicted since the ferry disaster. Yoo's daughter, Som-na, is fighting an extradition bid from Paris, and his second son, Hyuk-ki, is also wanted on corruption charges but is hiding abroad.
The eldest son of dead ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon went on trial on Wednesday along with his female bodyguard Park Soo-kyung. Yoo Dae-kyun (44) faces charges of misappropriating about W7.39 billion (US$1=W1,015) from Chonghaejin Marine, the operator of the ferry Sewol which sank off the southwest coast on April 16, and other affiliated companies between May 2002 and December 2013.Park has been charged with helping Yoo escape a nationwide manhunt.Park appeared before the judge in a light green prison uniform and kept her head bowed. She briefly wept as she answered questions from the bench, in stark contrast to her icy demeanor before reporters after her arrest. Park pled guilty to the charges and said in a written statement to the court that she helped the younger Yoo's escape because she had a close relationship with his family.Yoo junior looked gaunt as he stood before the judge and stared at the table in front of him, nodding only when questioned by the judge. Asked whether he preferred to be tried before a jury, he shook his head. Yoo admitted most of the embezzlement charges against him. But his lawyer said he did not use the money for personal purposes but to fund his late father's crackpot cult. He also applied for court permission to attend his father's funeral on Saturday at the sect's sprawling compound in Anseong south of Seoul.Yoo senior's widow and brother, who have also been arrested, applied for permission to attend the ceremony as well.Oh Gab-riel, the elder Yoo's brother-in-law and former Korean ambassador to the Czech Republic, who has also been indicted for helping the fugitive escape, watched the trial from the gallery. He left the court later without answering questions from reporters.
A fugitive aide to the late shipping business tycoon blamed for April's ferry disaster has been arrested in the United States and faces deportation, Seoul's justice ministry said Friday.Kim Hye-kyung, 52, the head of Korea Pharmaceuticals, was one of the closest aides to Yoo Byung-eun, who owned ferry Sewol operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.The Ministry of Justice said that Kim was rounded up by U.S. law enforcement authorities at a shopping mall in McLean, Virginia, on Thursday (local time).Yoo -- the co-founder of a religious sect and an ex-convict -- was found dead on a remote mountain in southern South Korea in June, two months after he was put on a wanted list in connection with the April 16 sinking of the Sewol that left more than 300 people, mostly high school students, dead or missing.The Seoul prosecution office suspects that Kim was deeply involved in the management of Chonghaejin Marine and other affiliates owned by family members of Yoo.Kim is expected to be extradited to South Korea within the next two days if the U.S. government immediately deports her, in accordance with an extradition treaty between the two countries, ministry officials said.Some of Yoo's aides and family members have fled overseas, prompting the prosecution to request Interpol to locate them. Yoo's daughter, Som-na, is fighting an extradition bid from Paris, and his second son, Hyuk-ki, is also wanted on corruption charges but is hiding abroad.