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A South Korean woman, who has recently been arrested in the United States in connection with April's deadly ferry disaster, is expected to undergo a trial first, rather than immediate deportation, a source said Friday.Kim Hye-kyung, 52, a key aide to Yoo Byung-eun, the late owner of the ferry Sewol, was arrested in Virginia on Thursday. She has been wanted for her role in a string of irregularities believed to have contributed to the sinking that claimed the lives of more than 300 people.Kim entered the U.S. in March on a 90-day visa waiver program. She has since holed up in the U.S., overstaying the time allowed for her as she was wanted on suspicion of corruption after the April 17 disaster.South Korean authorities have also asked for U.S. cooperation in arresting her.A diplomatic source in Washington said that Kim is expected to refuse to comply with a deportation order. That means she should undergo either an immigration trial for violating the duration of stay or a repatriation trial as she is wanted for criminal charges, the source said.She is expected to be put on an immigration trial because it takes less time than the repatriation process, sources said. ...
A key aide to the late South Korean shipping tycoon blamed for April's ferry disaster had negotiated with investigators about turning herself in before her arrest in the United States last week, a person close to her said Monday.Kim Hye-kyung, 52, one of the closest aides to Yoo Byung-eun, the late owner of the ferry Sewol, was arrested in Virginia on Thursday. She had been wanted for her role in a string of irregularities believed to have contributed to the sinking that claimed the lives of more than 300 people.The person familiar with Kim's situation told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity that Kim had expressed her willingness to voluntarily return to South Korea and discussed specific ways to do so with South Korean authorities before last week's arrest.Kim's alleged willingness to turn herself in, if true, would mean that she is likely to comply with a deportation order from the U.S. government and return home earlier than expected. Should she refuse to comply with a deportation order, however, a trial must be held to have her repatriated.Since her arrest, Kim has been held at Rappahannock Detention Center in Stafford, Virginia. U.S. authorities have been denying Kim bail over concern that she could flee or destroy evidence. Kim has reportedly hired an American lawyer. ...
Actress Chun Yang-ja, who was a business associate of the late owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, Yoo Byung-eun, admitted breach of trust and embezzlement charges at a court hearing, the prosecution said Monday.As a member of the Salvation Sect, a religious group led by Yoo, the 72-year-old actress headed a shopping subsidiary of Cheonghaejin Marine, the operator of the sunken ferry, as well as Geumsuwon, the sect's stronghold in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province.The trial of Chun opened Monday at Incheon District Court. Speaking to judges, Chun changed her previous testimony, and admitted to the breach of trust and embezzlement charges brought against her, according to the prosecution. During questioning on May 11, she flatly denied the allegations. She is accused of giving 350 million won ($337,000) to an agriculture interest group from September 2009 until July last year.She is also accused of embezzling 89 million ($85,000) won and giving it to another subsidiary of Cheonhejin Marine, the Bank of the Idea. Chun said, "I merely followed what my predecessors had been doing. I participated in the crime, but not actively nor willingly." In court, she testified on two counts: one on embezzlement charges, and the other on violating the construction law as CEO of Geumsuwon. As for the second count, she said, "I knew I was registered as CEO, but I was not the actual person in charge."In 1991, Chun revealed that she had been a member of the Salvation Sect. Her announcement came four years after the infamous "1987 Odaeyang Incident," in which 32 believers of Salvation Sect were found burned to death in a factory cafeteria in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.
Kim Hye-kyung, who handled money for the late patriarch of the family that owned the doomed Sewol ferry, will be extradited to Korea from the United States sometime this week, the Ministry of Justice announced yesterday. Kim, 52, the CEO of Korea Pharmaceuticals, is believed by prosecutors to have managed the hidden assets of the late Yoo Byung-eun and his family by registering them under her name. “When Kim arrives at Incheon International Airport, we will arrest her with a warrant that has already been issued by the court,” a prosecutor on the special investigation team at the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office said. Kim’s return to the country this week counters an earlier prediction that it could take months for authorities to take her into custody. It was initially presumed that she would legally fight any attempts at deportation. Kim was arrested on Sept. 4 in Virginia over an immigration law violation.
The prosecution yesterday disclosed the results of its months-long investigation into the Sewol ferry disaster that included damning information about the Korean Coast Guard, in charge of the search and rescue mission, as well as the probable causes behind the ship’s sinking. The incident, the country’s worst maritime disaster, claimed the lives of more than 300 people after the vessel capsized on April 16 in waters off the southwest coast.Authorities yesterday indicted the captain of the Coast Guard boat that arrived at the accident scene for professional negligence resulting in deaths for failing to properly evacuate passengers in the initial stages. The prosecution also indicted three other Coast Guard officials, including Deputy Chief Choi Sang-hwan, for abuse of power. The three are believed to have maintained a questionably close relationship with Undine Marine Industries, a private salvage company, and given it preference during search and rescue operations at the disaster site.Jo Eun-seok, who heads the criminal division at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, accused the Coast Guard of favoring the company. “Coast Guard officials also mobilized Undine Marine Industries’ Libero barge [to the Sewol accident scene], which is illegal because the vessel did not go through proper safety inspections,” Jo said.Another barge, the 2,200-ton Hyundai Boryeong, was dispatched to the scene about 30 hours before the 1,175-ton Libero, though the larger barge was not used in the search and rescue mission until the Libero came to the accident site.Only the 300-ton Geumho barge was used, wasting opportunities to employ additional personnel and equipment as well as rescue more passengers.Undine Marine Industries reportedly acquired the Libero for 2.1 billion won ($1.97 million) and charged 1.5 billion won for its use over 87 days.The prosecution added yesterday that it had investigated 388 people directly and indirectly related to the accident and arrested 154 of them. Additionally, authorities yesterday concluded that ferry’s sinking was caused by overloading and poor renovation work done on the vessel to increase its cargo capacity. It capsized due to poor steering and the cargo being driven toward one side, after which the boat could not restore its rightful balance, the prosecution said. The prosecution has so far indicted the captain and 14 crew members aboard the Sewol and taken legal action against 26 others, including officials from the Chonghaejin Marine Company, which operated the ferry, and those responsible for affixing the cargo.
A fugitive aide to Yoo Byung-eun, the late owner of the sunken ferry Sewol, was deported from the United States and arrested upon arrival in Korea, Tuesday.Kim Hye-kyung, 52, CEO of Korea Pharmaceuticals and one of the confidants of the late Yoo, is known to have managed his slush fund and hidden assets.Yoo was found dead in June.Korean investigators took her into custody from Taekuk Cho, the attache in Seoul for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations at Incheon International Airport. She was immediately taken to Incheon District Prosecutor's Office for questioning.She denied managing Yoo's slush fund."No. I didn't," a weary-looking Kim answered briefly after being asked by reporters whether she managed his hidden assets. "I will tell everything to prosecutors."Kim was arrested in Virginia in early September on charges of violating the country's immigration laws by staying there illegally. Kim had been on the Korean prosecution's wanted list since the sinking of the ferry Sewol on April 16, as she was allegedly involved in the management of group affiliates and the handling of Yoo's slush fund.Prosecutors said they grilled her over suspicions that she was involved in embezzling about 20 billion won ($23 million) from a religious organization affiliated with the Cheonghaejin Marine, a shipping firm that operated the ferry Sewol.Prosecutors suspect her to be deeply involved in the management of Chonghaejin Marine and other Semo Group affiliates owned by Yoo's family.Kim entered the United States in March on a 90-day visa waiver program, but overstayed there in an apparent attempt to escape being investigated following the disaster, which killed more than 300 people, many of them high school students.Under detention at Rappahannock Detention Center in Stafford, Virginia, Kim talked to her lawyer and later decided not to seek a court trial to oppose deportation.Some of Yoo's aides and family members have fled overseas, prompting investigators to request Interpol's assistance in apprehending them.Yoo's daughter, Som-na, is fighting an extradition bid from Paris, while his second son, Hyuk-ki, is also in hiding overseas.
Prosecutors called for a four-year jail term for Yoo Dae-gyun, the eldest son of the late Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of Chonghaejin Marine that operated the sunken ferry Sewol, Wednesday.The prosecution asked Incheon District Court to hand down the prison term for Yoo on charges of embezzling more than 7 billion won in company money and breach of trust.Yoo was arrested in July after more than two months in hiding following the ferry incident in April that killed more than 300 passengers.When the judge asked him during the hearing if he had anything to say, Yoo said, "I'm sorry to everybody."His lawyer said Yoo felt responsible for the accident and sorry for the victims, adding that the incident broke up his family. His father was found dead, while his mother and uncles were arrested. Other family members are in hiding.Yoo is accused of taking 7.3 billion won from seven companies owned by the family, including Chonghaejin, in salary and fees for using a trademark held by him from May 2002 to last December. He acquired trademark rights for the name of the Sewol's sister ferry, Ohamana, and Chonghaejin paid 3.5 billion won to him for the name use.The court will make a ruling for him on Nov. 5.Prosecutors also sought suspended jail terms for three people for helping Yoo hide, including Park Soo-kyung.For eight other aides to the late senior Yoo, the prosecution requested prison terms of between one and four-and-a-half years. Those people, heads of the companies set up by the Yoo family, were indicted with or without physical detention on charges of embezzlement or breach of trust.The prosecution sought one year in prison for actress Jeon Yang-ja who ran a home shopping company. She is accused of giving 350 million won in company funds to an agricultural group that allegedly managed the Yoo family's fortune, as well as embezzling 89 million won and giving it to another Yoo family firm.The other seven people were charged with breach of trust by giving 3 to 26 billion won in company funds to the family under the name of fees for consulting, advisory services or trademark use. The total amount reached 96 billion won.Meanwhile, the prosecution grilled Kim Hye-kyung, another confidant of the late Yoo, for the second consecutive day. She was deported from the U.S. and arrested upon arrival in Korea, Tuesday.The CEO of Korea Pharmaceuticals allegedly managed the senior Yoo's slush fund and hidden assets worth 22.4 billion won under false names.Kim is accused of embezzlement and breach of trust, as she bought the senior Yoo's photo works, which experts did not find valuable, at high prices with company money.She also allegedly bought real estate under her or her family members' names by embezzling funds of the Evangelical Baptist Church, or so-called Salvation Sect, which the senior Yoo led.
Prosecutors asked a court Thursday to issue an arrest warrant for Kim Hye-kyung, CEO of Korea Pharmaceuticals, who allegedly helped manage the hidden assets and a slush fund of the late Yoo Byung-eun, owner of the sunken ferry Sewol.The prosecution believes Kim, 52, has information regarding the location of these assets and hidden cash, and is also seeking to charge her with tax evasion, embezzlement and breach of trust.There has been speculation that had an extramarital affair with Yoon.Kim was deported from the United States, Tuesday, and was immediately taken into custody at Incheon International Airport.At the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office, Kim was questioned over suspicions she was involved in embezzling about 20 billion won ($23 million) from a religious organization affiliated with Cheonghaejin Marine, a shipping firm that operated the Sewol, in addition to helping Yoo avoid taxes.Kim has denied these allegations.She is also suspected of having been involved in the management of Chonghaejin Marine and other Semo Group affiliates owned by the Yoo family.Prosecutors also believe that Kim managed Yoo's slush fund and hidden assets, including bank accounts opened in other people's names, company shares and real estate."It feels like she had prepared well for the investigation during her stay in the United States," a source from the prosecution was quoted as saying.She entered the U.S. in March on a 90-day visa waiver program, but overstayed there in an apparent attempt to escape being investigated following the disaster, which killed more than 300 people.Previously, prosecutors asked Incheon District Court to hand down a 4-year prison term to Yoo Dae-gyun, Yoo's eldest son, on charges of embezzling more than 7 billion won in company money and breach of trust.They have requested prison terms of between one and four-and-a-half years for eight other aides to Yoo. These people were heads of companies set up by the Yoo family, and were indicted with or without physical detention on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust.
The Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday requested a detention warrant for Kim Hye-kyung, 52, the CEO of Korea Pharmaceuticals, who is believed to have handled assets belonging to Yoo Byung-eun, the late patriarch of the family that owned the Sewol ferry, on allegations of embezzlement and tax evasion.Yoo was found dead nearly four months ago in an orchard in South Jeolla. The massive manhunt for the 73-year-old business mogul captured the nation’s attention in part because of the expanse of his repertoire, which included work as a photographer, a religious leader and an entrepreneur.The prosecution suspects that Kim purchased Yoo’s photographs at high prices, embezzling 2.1 billion won ($1.97 million) from the company. Prosecutors are also questioning her over suspicions that she evaded paying 1.5 billion won in taxes by fabricating product sales at the pharmaceutical company.“We requested the warrant because she might flee, given that she was on the run in the United States for such a long time and was repatriated back to Korea,” said a prosecutor.Kim was returned to Korea on Tuesday. She denied all the allegations against her following three days of questioning.The prosecution is also trying to determine whether her assets, which add up to more than 30 billion won, are actually the late businessman’s but registered under her name. Authorities believe it is unlikely she could have accumulated such massive wealth on her own. Additionally, Kim is believed to have siphoned off about 20 billion won from the Evangelical Baptist Church, the sect Yoo co-founded with his father-in-law in the 1960s, to buy real estate and stocks under her name and those of her acquaintances.The prosecution announced Wednesday that Kim owns more property in Yongin, Icheon, Pyeongtaek and Gangneung, as well as land worth 10.4 billion won listed under Kim’s name in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, in addition to unlisted stocks worth about 12 billion won from six affiliates of Yoo’s Chonghaejin Marine Company, which operated the Sewol ferry.She denied the allegation that Yoo used her name to hide his wealth, saying she accrued the assets independently.The prosecution has restricted the sale of the land in Gangnam District and is planning to do the same for Kim’s other alleged properties.
Authorities have frozen W10 billion worth of real estate in New York owned by ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon's son Hyuk-ki, the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation said Monday. The KDIC filed an application with a New York district court in early October to seize the property.It includes a home in southeastern New York state worth US$6.8 million and two apartments in Manhattan valued at $3.2 million. Between 2011 until April this year, when the ferry disaster took place, Yoo senior wired $32.6 million to Ahae Press, a U.S. affiliate of his illegitimate business group owned by Hyuk-ki through other affiliates in Korea for the ostensible purpose of buying the late ferry owner's photographs and other works. A KDIC official said, "We filed a complaint on the grounds that Yoo Hyuk-ki, who is the CEO of Ahae Press, either managed or participated in efforts to hide Yoo senior's assets. If we win, we'll collect the money by auctioning off the real estate in the U.S." The government is in the process of tracking down and freezing the assets by the ferry owner and his family to compensate victims of the ferry tragedy and cover massive state expenses incurred during the search and rescue operation.
Three relatives of the late shipping company owner blamed for South Korea's Sewol ferry disaster have been given jail sentences for embezzlement.They are the first members of Yoo Byung-eun's family to be convicted over corruption, which authorities believe may have contributed to the disaster. A French court is due to decide whether to extradite Yoo's daughter, also on embezzlement charges. ...South Korean news agency Yonhap said on Wednesday that the elder Yoo's 44-year-old son Dae-kyun had been sentenced to three years in prison. He was convicted of taking 7.4bn won (£4.3m; $6.8m) from Chonghaejin and six other affiliates from 2002 to 2013. The judge said he had "abused his status" as Yoo's son.Two of Yoo's brothers, Byung-ill and Byung-ho, were also found guilty of similar charges and given prison terms of one and two years respectively.Several other close aides of Yoo were also jailed.A nationwide manhunt for Yoo Byung-eun was launched earlier this year, and he was later found dead in JuneIn France, Yoo's daughter Som-na is awaiting a decision by a French court due on Wednesday on whether she should be sent back to South Korea.She was arrested in May in her Paris home on an Interpol warrant. South Korean prosecutors believe she embezzled about $7.5m from Chonghaejin subsidiaries. Her lawyers say she will not get a fair trial in South Korea.Authorities had launched a nationwide manhunt for 73-year-old Yoo Byung-eun earlier this year, and raided a church compound owned by him. His decomposed body was found in June an orchard near his holiday home in June.A separate trial for the Sewol's ferry captain and other crew members is ongoing.
The Incheon District Court yesterday sentenced Yoo Dae-gyun, the eldest son of the late business tycoon who owned the company that operated the Sewol ferry, to three years in prison for embezzling 7.3 billion won ($6.7 million). The verdict came nearly four months after he was found on July 25 in a hideaway south of Seoul, ending his three months on the run. Yoo was apprehended three days after a badly decomposed corpse found the previous month in Suncheon, South Jeolla, was identified to be that of his father. Yoo Byung-eun, the patriarch of the family, stood accused of embezzlement, tax evasion and irresponsible business practices that ultimately led to the Sewol ferry’s sinking in April. The elder Yoo effectively owned the Chonghaejin Marine Company, which operated the doomed passenger ship.The court also found Yoo Byung-ho, the younger brother of the late shipping tycoon, guilty of embezzling company funds and sentenced him to two years in prison. Yoo Byung-il, 75, the late magnate’s older brother, received a one-year jail term with a two year stay of execution on the same charge. “The defendant misappropriated billions of won, taking advantage of his status as Yoo Byung-eun’s son, in the name of salaries and loyalty payments. Considering the amount of financial damage the defendant inflicted on the company, a stern punishment is inevitable,” the presiding judge said in the deliberations for Yoo Dae-gyun.The prosecution had initially sought a four-year-jail term for him. The court said it took into consideration the fact that Yoo Dae-gyun had no prior criminal record and had expressed remorse over some of the charges.The court also handed down prison terms ranging from two to four years to four other defendants who were found guilty of having misappropriated company funds and aiding Yoo Byung-eun in his evasion of authorities during a massive nationwide manhunt.Nine other defendants all received jail terms with a two or three year stay of execution. Prosecutors sought to convince the court that rampant embezzlement by the Yoo family and their associates contributed to the April 16 sinking. Various business irregularities stripped Chonghaejin Marine Company of the necessary funds it needed to adequately train its crew and safeguard its vessels, the prosecution argued. The Sewol ferry sank in waters off Jindo County, South Jeolla, leaving more than 300 people dead. Actress Jeon Yang-ja, whose real name is Kim Kyung-sook, 72, was also found guilty of embezzlement and breach of trust and received a one-year prison term suspended for two years. Jeon was the head of two of the group’s affiliates: the co-director of Geumsuwon, the headquarters of a pseudo-religious sect co-founded by the late Yoo; and a member of board of directors for I-One-I Holdings, the holding company of Chonghaejin Marine Co.
The second son of late ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon, who awaits extradition proceedings, hired a high-powered Wall Street lawyer to defend him.According to the New York federal court on Wednesday, Yoo Hyuk-ki hired Shawn Naunton of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, a high-profile attorney who also defended former IMF chief Dominique Strauss Kahn when he was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid.Naunton will try to prevent the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation to seize Yoo's assets in the U.S. He will also represent Yoo's wife and a subsidiary of the ferry owner's dubious business empire, Ahae Press, which handled proceeds from his photo exhibitions abroad."Ahae" or "Little Child" is the saccharine messianic title by which the dead fraudster liked to be referred to by followers of his crackpot cult.
Prosecutors on Thursday sought a 15-year prison term for the head of the ferry operator behind the April 16 disaster which killed over 300 people.Kim Han-sik, the CEO of Chonghaejin Marine, was indicted on charges of manslaughter and violating maritime safety regulations. The 71-year-old has already been slapped with a W2 million fine (US$1=W1,086)."Heavy punishment is inevitable since Kim, as a chief executive, remodeled the ship and overloaded it with cargo in an effort to overcome the company's deficits," a prosecutor said. Charges against the CEO also include embezzling tens of billions of won in company funds and receiving massive kickbacks from subcontractors. Prosecutors also demanded prison sentences ranging from four to six years for 10 other Chonghaejin executivesThe maximum penalty for professional negligence resulting in death is five years in jail. The prosecutor said the charged executives refused to admit their wrongdoings and tried to pass blame to each other. Kim blamed Chongjaehin owner Yoo Byung-eon, who is dead.