France Wants South Korea Ferry Owner Event Scrapped

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France Wants South Korea Ferry Owner Event Scrapped

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (file photo)

Paris:  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has called for a cultural event organised by a businessman wanted in connection with the deadly South Korean ferry disaster to be cancelled, sources said on Thursday.

In a letter dated June 30 to organisers of a festival in Compienge, north of Paris, Fabius said it was "timely" to scrap an installation by Korean photographer Ahae, the owner of the Sewol ferry which sunk in April killing 300 people, mainly students.

The minister called for the event's cancellation "out of sensitivity and respect for the grieving Korean people, especially the families of the young victims".

Fabius's intervention, revealed by culture news site Louvre pour Tous, was confirmed by the French foreign ministry.

"Whatever the artistic value of the work, such a projection looks like a provocation and an insult the victims," Fabius wrote.

South Korean investigators have spent several weeks looking for the billionaire businessman who, through a maze of subsidiaries, owns Chonghaejin Marine Co., holding company of the sunken vessel.

Yoo Byung-Eun, 72, who goes by the pseudonym Ahae, is suspected of tax evasion, embezzlement and negligence in his role as the ferry's owner.

His daughter was arrested in Paris in May and is currently fighting extradition proceedings. 

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