Most Wanted Man In Europe Begs Supreme Court Not To Extradite Him

( )- A South Korean businessman is pleading that the U.S. Supreme Court not allow his extradition to his home country to face charges almost a decade old. Hyuk Kee Yoo— who also goes by his English name, Keith Yoo—is wanted on embezzlement charges that allegedly led to a 2014 ferry incident that killed more than 300 people, according to Court House News.

Yoo’s father, Yoo Byung-eun, controlled the Chonghaejin Marine Company, which reportedly operated the ferry that overturned. The government of South Korea alleges that the family embezzled $23 million using a church.

Shawn Naunton, an attorney representing Yoo, is arguing that he is a U.S. resident and without a stay from the Supreme Court, Yoo will be extradited to South Korea to face charges that he could not be prosecuted for in the states.

“This harm would be irreversible and catastrophic; i.e., any relief granted to Mr. Yoo by the Supreme Court would be moot,” Naunton wrote in his application.

Yoo also argued that he would not receive a fair trial in his home country because of the bias against him and his family.

“The demonstrated animus in South Korea against the Yoo family and the church to which they belong is significant, making it likely that Mr. Yoo will not receive a fair trial there for the alleged embezzlement crimes related to his work,” Naunton wrote, adding that his client should be granted a stay.

The South Korean government requested Yoo’s extradition five times between 2014 and 2018 to be tried for embezzlement, but the U.S. had not responded until 2020 when Yoo was finally arrested in New York.

Yoo argues that the five-year statute of limitations expired and should receive a trial in the U.S. as outlined in the United States-South Korea Extradition Treaty that deals with a situation in which the statute of limitations has run out.

He has turned to the Supreme Court after a district court certified the extradition request and the Second Circuit denied the hearing case en banc, meaning a panel of judges ruled against him.