Sunday 21 January 2018

Owners of ferry to take ‘full responsibility’

Lawyers say Yoo Byung-un family had not been summoned by prosecutors

Grieving family members of missing of passengers from the capsized Sewol ferry
Grieving family members of missing of passengers from the capsized Sewol ferry
A diver jumps into the sea to look for people believed to have been trapped in the sunken Sewol ferry (AP)
Mourners pay tribute to the victims of the sunken ferry Sewol during a temporary memorial at the auditorium of the Olympic Memorial Museum in Ansan (AP)
A mourner pays tribute to the victims of the sunken ferry Sewol at a temporary memorial at the auditorium of the Olympic Memorial Museum in Ansan, south of Seoul (AP)

Miyoung Kim

The family that has a major stake in companies that control the shipping operator whose ferry sank last week, likely to have killed hundreds, will take social and legal responsibility for the incident, its lawyer said.

The lawyer did not say that the family was assuming liability for what he termed a "tragic accident" and said that the family had not been summoned by prosecutors.

"Yoo and his family will take all legal and social responsibility for this tragic accident if they have to as major stakeholders of the company," Son Byoung-gi told Reuters.

Yoo Byung-un is the founder of a company that went bankrupt in the 1990s and whose shipping assets now form part of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd. that is owned by investment funds controlled by his two sons, Yoo Dae-kyun and Yoo Hyuck-ki.

Prosecutors have raided both the company and Yoo's house as part of the search for evidence and financial regulators are looking at the company's borrowings and overseas businesses owned by Yoo and other family members.

"As far as I am aware, there are no financial irregularities such as tax evasion or asset transfers to the Yoo family," Son said.

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