Ferry Owner's Brother Arrested

The younger brother of ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon was arrested at his home in southeastern Korea on Sunday morning on charges of embezzlement.

Prosecutors and police obtained an arrest warrant against Yoo Byung-ho (61) and had been tracking him down. He is a one-time auditor at an online shopping mall owned by Yoo and his children, and is also the father-in-law of singer and head of JYP Entertainment Park Jin-young.

That brings to seven the members of Yoo's family who have been arrested, including his older brother Byung-il, brother-in-law Kwon Oh-gyun (64), wife Kwon Yun-ja (71), his sister and her husband Oh Gab-riel (60), and eldest daughter Sum-na.

Prosecutors believe that Oh Gab-riel, a former Korean ambassador, mobilized members of Yoo's cult to aid his flight from the law. Oh allegedly helped Yoo emerge secretly by car from his sect's compound south of Seoul on April 23, when the investigation into his alleged wrongdoings intensified.

Prosecutors also obtained testimony from a senior member of Yoo's cult that Oh contacted the French Embassy in Seoul to seek political asylum for Yoo.

But prosecutors had to release Oh and his wife on Sunday since under Korean law a person cannot be punished for hiding a fugitive member of their family. Instead, they hope to bring them to justice on charges of inciting others to hide a criminal.

Kwon Yun-ja (second from right), the wife of fugitive ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon, is arrested in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province on Saturday. Kwon Yun-ja (second from right), the wife of fugitive ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon, is arrested in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province on Saturday.

Meanwhile, investigators on Saturday arrested Yoo's wife Kwon Yun-ja in an apartment in Bundang south of Seoul. Prosecutors plan to indict her on charges of breach of trust and embezzling around W1 billion in funds from Yoo's businesses (US$1=W1,021).

Kwon had evaded arrest by simply switching off her mobile phone and moving from one house to another, but investigators received a tipoff that she was staying at the home of a member of her husband's cult and found her using CCTV footage.

With her in the apartment were two female cult members who had been helping her run from the law. Investigators also found W110 million in cash as well as a mobile phone registered in another name and a memo pad.

She reportedly told prosecutors that the money was for her personal use. They failed to locate any links on her mobile phone to her husband.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 23, 2014 11:42 KST