Senior prosecutor Yang Joong-jin said that the CEO, whose company operated the Sewol ferry, is facing charges that include causing death by negligence.
Yang explained that investigators determined the ferry was transporting twice as much cargo weight than it was permitted to carry, and that the cargo was improperly secured. Investigators charge that the cargo contributed to the ferry's sinking.
The CEO appeared on TV Thursday, his face covered, and admitted responsibility: "Victims of Sewol ferry and their bereaved families, I am sorry, I am sorry. I have committed crime that can only be paid back with my life."
South Korea's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has decided to revoke Cheonghaejin Marine Company's operating licenses.
Ministry official Nam Jae-heon said, "Normally, we would cancel route by route, but in this case of Chonghaejin Marine Co., it is not just the route that is problem ... there are serious problems with firm's entire business practices ... We have decided not to wait for the investigation results from the prosecutor, as would have been the standard practice, but to go ahead with the revocation of the business licenses as soon as possible since there is enough evidence out there to support the revocation."