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Arrest warrant sought for fugitive ferry owner's close aide

2014/06/27 16:49

INCHEON, June 27 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors sought a court-issued warrant Friday to arrest one of the close aides to the fugitive billionaire who owns the sunken ferry Sewol on breach-of-trust charges.

Lee Seok-hwan is under suspicion of helping Yoo Byung-eun, the 73-year-old fugitive whose family owns ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co., avoid a massive manhunt, prosecutors said.

Incheon District Court in the western port city of Incheon also allege that the 65-year-old Lee managed the secret funds of Yoo and his family.

Lee, who remains an influential member of religious group Evangelical Baptist Church, was apprehended in Suwon, just south of Seoul, on Wednesday.

Prosecutors suspect that corruption by Yoo's family resulted in lax safety practices, such as cargo overloading, which ultimately led to the April 16 tragedy that left nearly 300 people dead or missing.

Authorities have been offering bounties of 500 million won (US$489,000) and 100 million won, respectively, as a reward for information leading to the capture of Yoo and his eldest son, Dae-kyun.

The two are still at large despite a massive manhunt across the country for the past two months.

khj@yna.co.kr

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