Pay stub sheds light on Yoo salaryA team of police and prosecutors investigating the cause of the ferry disaster revealed yesterday that Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the sunken Sewol ferry’s operator, received a monthly salary of 10 million won ($9,760) over a year from Chonghaejin Marine Company.
Investigators, who are looking into corruption allegations surrounding Yoo and his two sons and their potential contributions to the ferry disaster, obtained a pay stub during a raid on the beleaguered operator. The document stated that a monthly salary of 10 million won had been paid out for approximately a year. This is the latest in a series of evidence suggesting that the elder Yoo was involved in the Chonghaejin Marine Company’s management. On Wednesday, the prosecution said that, after raiding the offices of Chonghaejin Marine Company and its affiliates, it had also discovered an internal organization chart that named Yoo as the operator’s president.
The 73-year-old business tycoon is the founder of Semo Group, the predecessor to Chonghaejin and widely considered to be the family patriarch. However, investigators have so far had a hard time proving Yoo’s influence, as he does not hold any formal position or shares within the company.
Investigators are seeking to verify whether the tycoon ordered or concealed the operator’s poor safety management or illegal business practices, such as its overloading of the Sewol ferry. Prosecutors said that during the time of the accident, the 6,825-ton ferry was carrying cargo that was three times heavier than the maximum weight limit and suggested that it could have contributed to the ship’s abrupt capsizing.
As part of the probe, the court yesterday issued arrest warrants for Kim Han-sik, the chief executive of the Chonghaejin. The decision came after Kim appeared at a hearing to determine the legitimacy of a detention request by prosecutors earlier yesterday for negligence of duty and violating the Maritime Safety Act.
Prosecutors allege that the head of Chonghaejin Marine Company allowed the doomed Sewol to sail despite being aware that the ferry was overloaded. Kim denied all allegations against him during the court session.
The court also reviewed arrest warrants for two of Yoo’s close aides. Former Semo Group President Ko Chang-hwan, and Byun Gi-choon, the president of a parent company of the Chonghaejin, are suspected of facilitating or covering up financial irregularities allegedly committed by Yoo.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Correction and rebuttal statement by the Evangelical Baptist Church
The Korea JoongAng Daily, regarding the reports since April 16, 2014, about the Evangelical Baptist Church (EBC) and Yoo Byung-eun, is publishing the following corrections and an excerpt from the rebuttal statement by the EBC.
Through three past investigations by the prosecution, it has been revealed that Yoo and the EBC, also known as the “Salvation Group” and Guwonpa in Korean, are not related to the Odaeyang mass suicide incident. That was also confirmed by the prosecution in its official statement on May 21. The prosecution’s investigation also found that Yoo had not made an attempt to smuggle himself out of the country or seek political asylum in France. We, therefore, correct the concerned reports.
Yoo retired from his executive management position in 1997. He did not own any shares in the noted companies, nor had he managed operations or used the operating funds for personal reasons. There are no grounds to call him the actual owner and chairman of the company. As such, he did not provide any directives in regards to the overloading of the Sewol ferry or its renovation.
It was verified that the captain and crew members who abandoned ship at the time of the Sewol ferry accident are not members of the EBC. It has also been verified that the EBC does not own any shares of Chonghaejin Marine Company and did not engage in its management.
The EBC’s position is that the museums in the United States and Europe can never authorize an exhibition unless the artistic value of an artist’s works is recognized by the screening committee, irrespective of the amount of money an artist donates. The EBC’s position is that the exhibitions were not a result of Mr. Yoo’s patronage or donation, and Yoo also has not coerced Chonghaejin and its affiliates to purchase his photos.
The EBC states that Yoo did not participate in the foundation of the EBC in 1981, and the church does not offer him the title “pastor.” It also says a significant part of the 240 billion won ($206 million) worth of assets suspected of belonging to the Yoo family are real estate properties owned by the farming associations, which had been established by church members.
The EBC states that there are certain churches in Korea that call the EBC a cult, solely based on differences between their’s and the EBC’s doctrines.
But the EBC does not worship a particular individual as a religious sect leader or preach any doctrine that contradicts the Bible.