Fatal South Korea ferry's billionaire owner found dead

The ferry's billionaire owner Yoo Byung-eun (inset) had been the subject of an international manhunt after the ferry disaster. Photo / AP
The ferry's billionaire owner Yoo Byung-eun (inset) had been the subject of an international manhunt after the ferry disaster. Photo / AP

South Korean police believe they have found the body of a fugitive businessman who owned the Sewol ferry that sank in April killing hundreds, a report said.

A massive manhunt had been launched for billionaire Yoo Byung-eun, the 73-year-old owner of ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine Co, who went on the run shortly after the vessel sank killing over 300, most of them school children.

A body found last month by police has matched the DNA of Yoo's older brother, Yonhap news agency reported early today, leading police to believe they have located the fugitive businessman's corpse.

Yonhap reported that the body was discovered on June 12 in a plum field in Suncheon, a city 300 kilometres south of Seoul.

"We carried out a DNA test after finding a dead body in Suncheon, and the results fairly matched that of Yoo's brother," a police official said, quoted by Yonhap. "We need to look more closely into this, but the body is believed to be Yoo's."

Yoo was wanted for questioning on possible charges of embezzlement and criminal negligence, as prosecutors investigate the extent to which the disaster was caused by a lack of safety standards and regulatory violations.

- AFP

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