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Eldest son of sunken ferry's owner put on wanted list

2014/05/14 16:09

INCHEON, May 14 (Yonhap) -- The eldest son of the de facto owner of a sunken ferry was put on a wanted list Wednesday as he continued to snub prosecution summons for questioning over his role in one of the country's worst maritime disasters.

Although the exact cause of the accident has yet to be determined, the prosecution suspects that corruption by the owner family may have resulted in lax safety practices, such as overloading, and eventually the April 16 sinking that has left more than 300 people dead or missing.

The local prosecution office investigating the case said it had put on the most wanted list Yoo Dae-kyun, the first son of Yoo Byeong-eun who is suspected to be the owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

Prosecutors said they are closely monitoring ports across the country amid fears that he could stow away to a foreign country aboard a ship.

"We are preparing for the worst-case scenario," Kim Hoe-jong, a senior prosecutor at the office, told a press briefing. "The prosecution is also looking into those who allegedly helped the younger Yoo flee."

   The move comes as prosecutors have expanded their investigation into corruption allegations surrounding the Yoo family, who are facing a host of corruption charges, including embezzlement, dereliction of duty, tax evasion and bribery.

The elder Yoo -- a businessman, artist, ex-convict and religious figure -- is suspected of controlling Chonghaejin Marine through two of his sons, who own stakes in the firm through various subsidiaries.

Prosecutors also said they are also preparing measures in case the elder Yoo, who has been notified to show up at the prosecution office by 10 a.m. on Friday, ignores the summons.

The 73-year-old will be questioned as a suspect in the case, they added.

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