Yoo Byung-eon, the fugitive owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, recently bought real estate even while on the run from the law and registered it in the name of friends.
According to prosecutors on Tuesday, Yoo purchased around 60,000 sq.m of land near a property in South Jeolla Province where he is believed to have sought refuge in May. He paid W250 million and registered it under the names of a married couple identified only by their surnames Byun and Chung.
The couple run a rest stop and restaurant near Suncheon and are suspected of aiding Yoo's escape from the law. A prosecution official said Yoo may have bought the property to use as a hideout.
Prosecutors in Incheon have asked a court to freeze an additional W10.2 billion worth of assets owned by Yoo, an undischarged bankrupt, and his family, including the newly acquired property as well as 10 stores in Gangnam valued at W8.5 billion, an apartment owned by Yoo's son Hyuk-ki valued at W1.5 billion and cameras confiscated from a restaurant run by his other son Dae-gyun valued at W22 million (US$1=W1,012).
Earlier, a court had approved a request by prosecutors to freeze and sequester around W40 billion worth of assets owned by Yoo and his family.
While focusing on arresting Yoo, who has been on the run for two months, prosecutors plan to investigate another W240 billion worth of assets he is believed to own by proxy.