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Fugitive ferry owner's brother, close aides to stand trial

2014/07/02 15:39

INCHEON, July 2 (Yonhap) -- The elder brother and two close aides of the fugitive billionaire who owns the sunken ferry Sewol have been indicted in connection with the tragedy that has left more than 300 people dead or missing, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Incheon District Prosecutors' Office in the western port city of Incheon said it has brought embezzlement charges against Yoo Byung-ill, the elder brother of Yoo Byung-eun, the 73-year-old fugitive whose family owns ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

The elder Yoo is suspected of having received a combined 13 million won (US$129,000) from Chonghaejin Marine as consulting fees between June 2010 and April 2014, prosecutors said.

Of the two close aides, a 64-year-old female suspect surnamed Shin has been indicted on charges of playing a major role in helping the fugitive owner evade capture, they added.

Prosecutors allege that Shin, a member of the Evangelical Baptist Church religious group in which the owner family remains influential leaders, helped Yoo Byung-eun hide at the residence of one of the worshipers.

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.

Authorities have been offering bounties of 500 million won and 100 million won, respectively, as rewards for information leading to the capture of Yoo and his eldest son, Dae-kyun.

The two are still at large despite a massive nationwide manhunt over the past two months.

khj@yna.co.kr

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