The government has filed a damages suit against Cheonghaejin Marine Company Ltd., the business that operated the Sewol ferry, demanding the repayment for the indemnities it had disbursed to the shipping company as state expenditures.
On November 19, the Ministry of Justice filed a damages suit through the Seoul Central District Court against 22 people, including six Cheonghaejin executives, the Sewol captain and 15 crewmen.
The damages that the government filed suit for, which amounts to a total of 187.8 billion KRW (~$162.43 million USD), incorporate the funds it has disbursed so far for indemnification. Should the scale of the indemnities and relevant expenditures increase in the future, the government plans to raise the amount of their claim.
This lawsuit came after news of the Supreme Court's ruling on November 12 that Sewol's captain, 70-year-old Lee Joon Seok, its crewmen, and various Cheonghaejin reps were found guilty of murder and negligence.
Prior to the filing of the suit, the Ministry of Justice took steps to preserve what remaining assets they can obtain. The Ministry made certain that through the request of measures such as provisional seizure of assets and injunctions, the company wouldn't allocate the money they should expend towards compensation elsewhere.
The total sum of asset preservation that the courts has approved amounts to 166.98 billion KRW (~$144.48 million USD). The assets that the late Cheonghaejin chairman Yoo Byeong Uhn held in possession are also included in the preservation amount. Including the assets he had retained under different names, they amount to a total of 92.5 billion KRW (~$80 million USD).
The Ministry also plans to file suit against the offspring and heirs of Yoo within this year.