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Daughter of Fugitive South Korea Ferry Owner Arrested, Faces Judge

  • VOA News

A man watches a TV news program on the reward poster of Yoo Byung-eun at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, May 26, 2014.

A man watches a TV news program on the reward poster of Yoo Byung-eun at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, May 26, 2014.

Yoo Som-Na, whose father is believed to be the owner of the South Korean ferry that sank last month, was arrested in France and will appear before a judge Wednesday.

Yoo, 47, was arrested Tuesday at her home near the Champs-Elysees in Paris under an international arrest warrant issued May 8 by South Korean officials.

At the court hearing, a judge will determine whether Yoo should be detained in custody, pending a decision to extradite her to South Korea, or be released under judicial watch.

Yoo’s French lawyer, Patrick Maisonneuve, did not immediately return calls to his office seeking comment, the AP reported.

Yoo is the daughter of Yoo Byung-Eun, a billionaire and head of the family that controls the company which owned and operated the Sewol ferry that capsized and sank on April 16.

Death toll

The death toll from the accident is 288, with 16 missing. Most of those on board, and most of the dead, were high school students on a field trip to Jeju Island.

Yoo Byung-Eun and his eldest son Yoo Dae-Kyun are being hunted by Korean authorities who suspect breaches of legal safety standards may have led to a tragedy that moved the whole world. Yoo Byung-Eun also faces allegations if tax evasion and embezzlement.

South Korea raised to almost $500,000 its reward for information leading to the capture of Yoo Byung-Eun. There is a $100,000 bounty for his son.

Initially, South Korea had offered a $50,000 reward for Yoo Byung-Eun. The $500,000 figure is the maximum allowed by criminal law as a reward for a fugitive, Reuters reported.

“This is the largest amount ever offered by an investigative authority as a reward,” said a prosecution official involved in the case.

A judge will decide later on Wednesday whether she should be detained in custody pending a decision on whether to extradite her to South Korea, which could take several months or longer if she contests it.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

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