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Billionaire Sewol company owner confirmed dead

Billionaire Sewol company owner confirmed dead

Yoo Byung-eun, fugitive billionaire owner of the sunken Korean ferry Sewol, has been found dead in a field.

South Korean police have confirmed by fingerprint and DNA testing that the body, found in June and described as “badly decomposed” is that of Yoo, head of the family which owned Sewol’s operator Chonghaejin Marine Co.

The news follows Sewol’s listing and sinking, which claimed the lives of more than 300 passengers, the majority of whom were children on a school trip, and some of the crew. The ferry was said to be loaded with 3,608 tons of cargo, more than three times the safe limit.

Further reports suggest passengers were not instructed to put on life jackets and were told to remain in their cabins while crew fled the sinking vessel, actions which South Korean President Park Geun-hye condemned as “akin to murder”. Captain Lee Joon-seok recently pled not-guilty to charges of homicide through wilful negligence.

Meanwhile sistership Ohamana, also owned and operated by Chonghaejin Marine, was found to have 40 non-operational life rafts and malfunctioning emergency slides.

Suspected of criminal negligence by South Korean police, as well as embezzlement and tax evasion, 73-year-old businessman Yoo had been on the on the run since shortly after the sinking, with a bounty of nearly $500,000 being offered.

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