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A district court on Wednesday convicted two aides to the late shipping tycoon blamed for April's deadly ferry disaster of helping him evade a massive manhunt.The two -- Yang Hoe-jeong, Yoo Byung-eun's driver, and Kim Myung-sook, one of Yoo's closest aides -- were convicted of playing a key role in an organized plan to help the deceased ferry owner hide from police.The Incheon District Court in this western port city handed down prison terms ranging from 10 months to one year to the two defendants, and delivered guilty verdicts to seven others for the same charge."Yang Hoe-jeong and Kim Myung-sook should be put behind bars," Judge Lee Jae-wook of the Incheon District Court said in his ruling, citing fears that the two may flee.The 73-year-old tycoon had been the target of a months-long manhunt on multiple charges of corruption in business operations as he pursued profits at the expense of passenger safety, ultimately causing the April 16 accident that claimed more than 300 lives.The body of Yoo was first found on Jun. 12 at a plum farm, prompting speculation that he had received help from others to find a hideout. Police failed to find out the cause of Yoo's death and how his body ended up at the farm, located near his vacation home in the southern city of Suncheon.In a separate ruling, however, the court acquitted the husband of Yoo's younger sister of the same charge, saying that there is no law punishing those who help their family members evade a police manhunt.Oh Gab-riel, the former South Korean ambassador to the Czech Republic, was charged with sending a letter to his brother-in-law staying in the Suncheon vacation home about the ongoing police investigation.The court, in a separate ruling, handed down suspended prison terms to three people for helping the eldest son of Yoo evade the police manhunt.The three aides to Yoo Dae-kyun, including Park Soo-kyung, a 34-year-old female bodyguard, were convicted of helping the younger Yoo for nearly three months.The younger Yoo was arrested at a hideout in a town just outside Seoul together with Park on Jul. 25, three days after the discovery of his father's badly decomposed body.
Park Soo-kyung, who protected ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon's eldest son during his days on the lam, was given a two-year suspended sentence on Wednesday. The Incheon District Court said Park interfered with the police search for Yoo Dae-kyun but took into consideration that she has children to take care of and expressed remorse.The pair hid in a small flat in Yongin south of Seoul for over three months as a massive nationwide manhunt was underway following the April 16 ferry disaster.Oh Gab-riel, Yoo Byung-eon's brother-in-law and former ambassador to the Czech Republic, was cleared of orchestrating the escape of the elder Yoo. The court said that although it is clear that Oh aided Yoo's escape, Korean law cannot punish close family members who aid the escape of felons.
A district court on Thursday sentenced the head of the sunken ferry Sewol operator to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of more than 300 people.Kim Han-sik, chief executive officer of Chonghaejin Marine Co., was also found guilty of violating the law on safe maritime navigation in connection with the April 16 tragedy, embezzling company funds worth tens of billions of won and taking kickbacks worth tens of millions of won from subcontractors.The Gwangju District Court in this southern city imposed a 2 million won (US$1,900) fine on the 71-year-old chief as well."Kim remodeled the ship and overloaded it with cargo in an effort to overcome the company's deficits despite being briefed that the ship's ability to balance itself was compromised," judge Yim Jung-yeob said in his ruling."Kim also caused losses to the company through embezzlement and professional malpractice and transfered secret funds to the family of Yoo Byung-eun," judge Yim added, referring to Chonghaejin Marine's owner family.Prosecutors earlier had demanded a 15-year prison term for Kim.In the same trial on Thursday, the court delivered prison sentences ranging from three to six years to other Chonghaejin Marine's executives.Prosecutors allege that Chonghaejin, motivated by profit, routinely overloaded the ship with passengers and cargo even though its balance was substantially compromised after a remodeling.
A close aide to the owner of the ferry Sewol, which sank off the country's southwest coast and killed more than 300 people in April, will be indicted on charges of embezzlement later this week, prosecutors said Monday.Kim Pil-bae, former chief of Moonjin Media, is accused of embezzling about 33.2 billion won (US$29.6 million) from his company to offer Yoo Byeong-eun, the late owner of the Sewol operator Chonghaejin Marine Co. Moonjin Media is a publishing company founded by Yoo.The 76-year-old turned himself in to South Korean authorities on Nov. 25 after hiding out in the U.S. for seven months on an expired visa waiver program.Prosecutors at this western port city in charge of the case said they have extended his detainment until Sunday and plan to indict him at an unspecified date this week.South Korean law allows prosecutors to extend their detention of suspects by up to 10 days after the first 10-day period expires.Prosecutors believe that Kim provided the funds to Yoo as "consulting fees" or used them to finance Yoo's photo exhibitions held at museums, including the Louvre in France.He is also believed to have provided the funds to I-One-I Holdings, the holding company of Chonghaejin Marine, whose majority stake is owned by the two sons of Yoo.
The widow of ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence on Thursday. Kwon Yun-ja (71) was found guilty of breach of trust and embezzling W30 billion (US$1=W1,102) from the coffers of companies controlled by her husband. ...The two received a W29.7 billion bank loan in 2010 to build a new church for Yoo's crackpot cult but instead used the money to fund Kwon Oh-kyun's business. Yoo is widely blamed for the April 16 ferry disaster that claimed more than 300 lives.
A French court has decided to deport the eldest daughter of Yoo Byung-eon, the dead owner of the ferry that sank on April 16 last year killing hundreds. But it will take some time before Yoo Sum-na (49) can actually be handed over to Korean authorities.A French court of appeals made the decision on Wednesday after concluding that Yoo would get a fair trial in Korea. Yoo headed a design affiliate of her late father's sprawling business empire and is suspected of embezzling W49.2 billion (US$1=W1,097) from the company through fake consulting fees.In France, the extradition process is handled by two different courts that consecutively review such cases. Yoo Sum-na, who claims to be a victim of a witch hunt over the ferry disaster, is highly likely to appeal.And even if the next court upholds the ruling, she can appeal again. A Justice Ministry official here said, "We are trying, but she may not be handed over this year." Some legal experts say it could take years before she is deported.
Nov. 6: 2014: Late Sewol owner’s son given 3-year prison termQuoteThe 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 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).
Prosecutors demanded Friday a four-year jail term for the son of the Sewol ferry owner, accusing him of embezzling company funds.Yoo Dae-gyun, whose father owned the ferry Sewol that capsized off the southwest coast last year, was convicted at a lower court last November of the misappropriation of about 7.4 billion won (US$6.8 million) from his father's companies between 2002 and 2013.
An appellate court Friday found a former South Korean ambassador to the Czech Republic not guilty of helping the late owner of a sunken ferry evade a massive police manhunt.Upholding a lower court ruling, Judge Kim Sang-hwan of the Seoul High Court said, "The suspicions of concealing an offender were substantiated, but the crime is dismissed in consideration of his family relations. Still, he cannot be free of criticism over what he has done as someone who long served as a government official."The ruling on Oh Gab-riel was based on the local criminal code that condones helping family members evade criminal manhunts or destroy evidence.Oh was charged with masterminding the plan to help Yoo Byung-eun, a brother of Oh's wife, hide out from the police manhunt which started after the deadly sinking of the ferry Sewol on April 16, 2014. Police accused Yoo, the owner of the ill-fated ferry, of severely compromising navigation safety by overloading the vessel and an illegal renovation of the ferry. More than 300 people died in the ferry accident.Oh kept a fugitive Yoo informed of the latest news on the investigation and other matters. The prosecution had demanded a jail term of one and half years.
"Taking into account the political context, the threats to the presumption of innocence... [the court] decided to release" Yoo while waiting for further information, said her lawyers in a joint statement. "It's a relief after 13 months of unjustified detention," said the statement from lawyers Olinka Malaterre, Herve Temime and Rachel Lindon.A court in Paris in January authorised her extradition, but the appeals court overturned the decision in April, meaning that her case would have to be reconsidered by a lower court.Yoo, 48, is wanted in South Korea on suspicion that she embezzled millions of dollars from subsidiaries of her family's company, Chonghaejin Marine Co. Authorities there believe the alleged embezzlement contributed to safety defects that led to the April 2014 Sewol ferry disaster which claimed more than 300 lives, most of them schoolchildren.
South Korea's Supreme Court said Thursday it has upheld a seven-year jail sentence for the head of the sunken ferry Sewol operator for involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of more than 300 people.Kim Han-sik, chief executive officer of Chonghaejin Marine Co., was convicted of not properly checking the safety conditions of the ferry despite being briefed that the ship's ability to balance itself was compromised.The 73-year-old chief was also convicted of embezzling company funds worth some 2.8 billion won (US$2.44 million) and was ordered to pay a fine of 2 million won.
The daughter of the late South Korean shipping tycoon blamed for 2014 ferry disaster has been ruled by a French court to be extradited to South Korea, court records showed Tuesday. The decision on Yoo Byung-eun's eldest daughter, Som-na, came about two years after she was arrested in France in May 2014.She is wanted on a string of corruption charges and other alleged irregularities that are believed to have contributed to the sinking of the 6,825-ton ferry off the southwestern coat, which left 304 people dead. Most of the deaths involved high school students on a field trip to Jeju Island.
Even if Prime Minister Manuel Valls signs the decree for the extradition of Yoo Som-Na over the catastrophe that killed more than 300 people, the decision can still be contested in France's highest administrative court. A lawyer for Yoo said extradition would be "unjust" and that her legal team would continue to fight. "We're not going to stop there, certainly not," Herve Temime told AFP.
The Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. (KDIC) said Thursday it will open overseas offices to track assets and properties concealed abroad by business owners who are responsible for bankruptcies. ...Last year, the KDIC relied on private investigators in seeking real estate worth 10.7 billion won in the U.S. and France stashed away by the family of the late Yoo Byung-eun, the de-facto owner of the ferry Sewol which sank and took more than 300 lives in April 2014.