June 22, 2014 / 11:06 AM / 3 years ago

Another brother of South Korea ferry disaster fugitive arrested

SEOUL, June 22 (Reuters) - South Korean police arrested a
younger brother of the country's most wanted man, a businessman
linked to a ferry disaster in which hundreds of school children
drowned, on Sunday as authorities cast a wide net for the
fugitive's family.
    Yoo Byung-ho was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, a
prosecution official said.
    Prosecutors and police are seeking Yoo Byung-un, 73, who has
eluded one of the country's biggest manhunts for more than a
month. They have arrested his wife, younger sister and her
husband, a former ambassador to the Czech Republic. 
    His younger sister and her husband, arrested on suspicion of
helping Yoo evade arrest, were allowed to go home on Saturday.
    Yoo Byung-un is wanted on charges of embezzlement,
negligence and tax evasion stemming from a web of business
holdings centred on I-One-I, an investment vehicle owned by his
sons that ran the shipping company, Chonghaejin Marine.
    Chonghaejin owned the Sewol, which sank off the southwest
coast on April 16 killing more than 300 people, many of them
school children, on a routine journey from Incheon on the
mainland to the southern holiday island of Jeju.
    The sinking of the Sewol was a disaster that prompted a
national outpouring of grief and anger, especially after some
crew were caught on video abandoning ship while the children,
following instructions, stayed in their cabins.
    Yoo's elder brother, Yoo Byung-il, has been arrested on
charges of embezzlement and violation of real estate laws. His
daughter, Yoo Som-na, has been held in France after Interpol
called for her arrest "for fraud and embezzlement".
    Yoo Byung-un, a photographer who held an exhibition at the
Louvre in Paris and was once jailed for fraud, has eluded
capture in a case which has become an embarrassment for
authorities already under pressure for their handling of the
disaster. 
    Police and prosecutors twice raided the compound of a
religious sect he co-founded, using earth movers to search for
tunnels, but to no avail. 
    Authorities have offered a half-million-dollar reward
information leading to Yoo's arrest, the maximum allowed for an
individual in a criminal case.
    Lawyers for the 15 surviving crew of the Sewol, who face
charges ranging from homicide to negligence, argued on Tuesday
that it was up to the coastguard to rescue the passengers, not
them.

 (Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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