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.
South Korea ferry disaster
South Korea ferry disaster
1/6 South Korea ferry disaster
A woman ties a yellow ribbon dedicated to dead and missing passengers onboard sunken passenger ship Sewol to a pillar at Yellow Ribbon's Garden set up at Seoul City Hall Plaza
2/6 South Korea ferry disaster
A South Korean man walks past a well-wishing ribbon in Seoul
3/6 South Korea ferry disaster
High school student who are members of the Youth section of the Seoul Alpine Federation, climb to display a sign reading 'My dear friend I will remember you forever' while hoping for the safe return of the sunken ferry Sewol's missing passengers as they hang on a rope bridge on the Ansan mountain in Seoul
4/6 South Korea ferry disaster
High school student hold a sign reading 'My dear friend I will remember you forever' while hoping for the safe return of the sunken ferry Sewol's missing passengers as they hang on a rope bridge on the Ansan mountain in Seoul
5/6 South Korea ferry disaster
File image: A diver gets out from the sea after attempting to search for the missing passengers at the site of the sunken South Korean ferry 'Sewol' off Jindo on 26 April, 2014
6/6 South Korea ferry disaster
South Korean coast guard officers try to rescue passengers from the Sewol ferry as it sinks in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea
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 ReutersReuse content