Prosecutors Hit Hurdle in Freezing Ferry Owner's Assets

A district court in Incheon on Monday authorized the freeze of W67.8 billion of dead ferry owner Yoo Byung-eon's assets, disappointing prosecutors who wanted to impound W124.4 billion worth (US$1=1,034).

The W67.8 billion is equivalent to the amount that Yoo's three children -- Dae-gyun, Hyuk-ki and Sum-na -- are set to inherit.

By law, Yoo's widow Kwon Yun-ja is entitled to 3/11 of his assets, while each of his children get 2/11.

The addition of W33.9 billion Kwon is set to inherit from Yoo increases the total amount of assets to be frozen to W101.7 billion, or 41.7 percent of the W244.1 billion Yoo's family are accused of embezzling from their businesses, including ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine, and 78.8 percent of Yoo's ill-gotten assets.

Prosecutors have filed five separate applications to the Incheon district court to freeze Yoo's assets. So far, the court authorized the freeze of W105.4 billion.

But Yoo was found dead on June 12 and it is not possible to impose penalty taxes on the deceased.

As a result, the court on Monday authorized only the freeze of the assets his children are set to inherit. For the time being nothing more can be frozen.

A court official said, "Yoo is dead and prosecutors will have to retract their previous applications to freeze his assets. The court only authorized the freeze of the amount his three children are set to inherit. The only thing prosecutors can do now is find any other hidden assets or properties which belong to Yoo's family under borrowed names."

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 05, 2014 11:12 KST