US Judge Won’t Block Sewol Ferry Disaster Extradition

This article was updated at 2021-11-02 15:49.
US District Judge Cathy Seibel on Monday refused to block South Korea from seeking the extradition of Yoo Hyuk-Kee, the man wanted on embezzlement charges related to the 2014 ferry sinking that killed 304 people.

Seibel said that it was for the US Department of State and not judges to decide whether South Korea waited too long to seek Yoo’s extradition under its 1998 treaty with the United States.

Seibel rejected Yoo’s claim that there was no probable cause to support his extradition on the seven charges he was facing, Channel News Asia reported.

Yoo, also known as Keith Yoo, had been a fugitive for six years before his arrest in July 2020.

South Korean prosecutors said Yoo deceived various companies into giving him funds of up to 29 billion Korean won (US24.6 million) by using his power as a business and religious leader.

“We continue to believe that the evidence South Korea has presented does not support extradition and that Keith Yoo will not get a fair trial if extradited,” Yoo’s lawyer Paul Shechtman said.

The office of US Attorney Damian Williams, which has said Yoo was extraditable, did not comment on the issue.

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