UK & World News

  • 22 July 2014, 13:28

Ferry Sinking: Fugitive Billionaire Found Dead

Police have discovered the body of a fugitive billionaire who had been wanted in connection with a ferry disaster in South Korea.

They began a large manhunt for Yoo Byung-eun following the sinking of the Sewol vessel in April, in which more than 300 people, mostly schoolchildren, were killed.

The 73-year-old businessman, whose family own ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co, went on the run after the tragedy.

A heavily decomposed body found last month by police matched the DNA of his older brother.

Authorities say they have now confirmed the corpse was that of Yoo, who was wanted for questioning on possible charges of embezzlement and criminal negligence.

Suncheon police chief Woo Hyung-Ho said the body was too decomposed to determine the cause of death, adding that several empty bottles of alcohol were found at the scene.

"We do not know yet whether it was a homicide or a suicide," Mr Woo said.

"We are hoping that more detailed forensic analysis will shed light on this and on the exact time of death."

The Yonhap news agency said the body was discovered on June 12 in a plum field in Suncheon, a city about 180 miles south of Seoul.

The corpse was lying face up and was clothed in a winter jacket and hat.

Prosecutors are investigating to what extent the disaster was caused by a lack of safety standards and regulatory violations.

Many of his Yoo's family members were arrested following the tragedy, among them his wife and his brother.

A daughter is fighting an extradition bid from Paris and his eldest son is still on the run.

The captain and 14 crew members are currently on trial for murder after the ship sank on a trip from the port on Incheon to the holiday island of Jeju on April 16. There were 172 survivors.

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