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Late ferry owner's fugitive aide nabbed in U.S.

2014/09/05 14:42

SEOUL, Sept. 5 (Yonhap) -- A fugitive aide to the late shipping business tycoon blamed for April's ferry disaster has been arrested in the United States and faces deportation, Seoul's justice ministry said Friday.

Kim Hye-kyung, 52, the head of Korea Pharmaceuticals, was one of the closest aides to Yoo Byung-eun, who owned ferry Sewol operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

The Ministry of Justice said that Kim was rounded up by U.S. law enforcement authorities at a shopping mall in McLean, Virginia, on Thursday (local time).

Yoo -- the co-founder of a religious sect and an ex-convict -- was found dead on a remote mountain in southern South Korea in June, two months after he was put on a wanted list in connection with the April 16 sinking of the Sewol that left more than 300 people, mostly high school students, dead or missing.

The Seoul prosecution office suspects that Kim was deeply involved in the management of Chonghaejin Marine and other affiliates owned by family members of Yoo.

Kim is expected to be extradited to South Korea within the next two days if the U.S. government immediately deports her, in accordance with an extradition treaty between the two countries, ministry officials said.

Some of Yoo's aides and family members have fled overseas, prompting the prosecution to request Interpol to locate them. Yoo's daughter, Som-na, is fighting an extradition bid from Paris, and his second son, Hyuk-ki, is also wanted on corruption charges but is hiding abroad.