South Korea ferry disaster: Investigators raid home of ferry company's founder Yoo Byung-un as death toll tops 110

Yoo Bying-un is being investigated for alleged 'corruption in management'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

South Korean police investigating the sinking of the Sewol ferry have raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, the founder of the vessel’s parent company.

As part of a widening probe into the cause of the sinking, which is likely to become South Korea’s worst maritime disaster in 21 years, investigators also conducted a series of raids of the company’s offices.

According to Reuters, South Korean officials are investigating a series of possible tax issues and potentially illegal foreign currency transactions by the company and by the Yoo family.

Yoo himself reportedly spent four years in jail for fraud during the early 1990s.

Although there is no suggestion that the disaster is linked to the company’s difficult history, Kim Hoe-Jong, a prosecutor on the case, said the raids was part of a probe into "overall corruption in management".

Yoo, his two sons and a further 70 executives connected with the company have been barred from leaving South Korea as investigators seek to establish the cause of the sinking.

A further 70 executives connected with the company have also been issued with 30-day travel bans.

The death toll from the capsized ferry has passed 110, as divers enter the second day of collecting bodies trapped from the sunken hull.

Yesterday, the captain Lee Joon-Seok and eight crew members from the Sewol ferry were taken into police custody.

They have been accused of delaying the call to abandon ship and leaving hundreds of people trapped inside the ferry.

Earlier this week, the South Korean president described their action as being “tantamount to murder”. However, some rescued passengers have praised the actions of the crew.

Additional reporting by Reuters