Reward for owner of SK ferry upped to US$500K
May 27, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
SEOUL--Under-pressure South Korean prosecutors on Monday upped to US$500,000 a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of a fugitive businessman in connection with last month's ferry disaster.
The new sum was a 10-fold increase from the 50 million won (US$50,000) originally offered last Thursday for Yoo Byung-eun, patriarch of the family that owns Chonghaejin Marine Co.
Chonghaejin was the owner and operator of the 6,825-tonne ferry, Sewol, which capsized and sank on April 16 with the loss of around 300 lives — most of them schoolchildren.
Yoo is wanted for questioning on possible charges of embezzlement and criminal negligence, as prosecutors investigate the extent to which the Sewol disaster was caused by a lack of safety standards and regulatory violations.
"We hope the bigger cash reward will lead to his quick arrest," senior prosecutor Kim Hoe-jong told AFP.
Yoo has no direct stake in Chonghaejin, but his children and close aides control it through a complex web of holding companies.