Arrest warrant issued for 2nd son of Sewol ferry operator’s late owner

A local court issued a warrant Saturday to arrest the second son of Yoo Byung-eun, the late chairman of Semo Group, linked to the deadly Sewol ferry sinking in 2014, on charges of embezzlement.

The Incheon District Court granted a warrant to formally arrest Yoo Hyuk-kee, 50, citing the risks of flight and destroying evidence.

He was extradited to South Korea from the United States on Friday, nine years after the ferry sinking took place.

Yoo is suspected of embezzling or inflicting losses that amounted to about 25 billion won (US$19 million) during his alleged involvement in the management of Semo Group.

The group owned the operator of the Sewol ferry that sank off the southwestern island of Jin on April 16, 2014, claiming 304 lives, mostly high school students on a school trip to Jeju Island, in one of the country's worst maritime disasters.

Yoo, a U.S. resident, was arrested in New York in July 2020 after refusing to comply with the South Korean prosecution's summons three times. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Yoo's request to block his extradition in January, and the U.S. government then approved his extradition at the request of the justice ministry here.

Out of the four people who fled abroad in connection with the Sewol ferry case, Yoo is the last to be repatriated.

Source: Yonhap News Agency