Channel NewsAsia

Daughter of Korean ferry tycoon detained in France

The daughter of a fugitive Korean tycoon accused of being responsible for last month's ferry disaster was detained in custody in France on Wednesday pending extradition proceedings.

PARIS: The daughter of a fugitive Korean tycoon accused of being responsible for last month's ferry disaster was detained in custody in France on Wednesday pending extradition proceedings.

Judicial sources said a judge had decided against releasing Yoo Som-na, 47, on bail following her arrest on Tuesday under an international arrest warrant.

Korean authorities want to talk to her in connection with their investigation into a sinking that claimed around 300 lives, most of them schoolchildren.

A decision on whether Yoo should be extradited is likely to take months as French authorities will have to satisfy themselves that there is a legitimate basis for the request.

She will not necessarily be kept in custody until an extradition hearing but the authorities have that option if they judge that there is a risk of her seeking to flee France.

Yoo Som-na is the daughter of Yoo Byung-eun, the head of the family which controls Chonghaejin Marine Co., the company which owned and operated the Sewol ferry that capsized and sunk on April 16 with hundreds of high-school students on board.

Yoo and his eldest son Yoo Dae-kyun are being hunted by Korean authorities who suspect breaches of legal safety standards may have led to a tragedy that moved the whole world.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday denounced the fugitive members of the family as the "root cause" of the disaster. The government has offered a half-million dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of the father and 100,000 dollars for Yoo Dae-kyun.

Korean prosecutors want to question the two men, Yoo Som-na and another son who lives in the United States in connection with possible charges of embezzlement, tax fraud and criminal negligence.

Yoo has no direct stake in Chonghaejin, but his children and close aides control it through a complex web of holding companies.

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