South Korean rescue teams take part in recovery operations at the site of the sunken Sewol ferry AFP

The South Korean billionaire who owned the ferry that killed more than 300 people in April has been found dead, local police have confirmed.

Authorities found the body of 73-year-old Yoo Byung-eun in an agricultural field in the southern South Korean city of Suncheon last month.

The businessman went missing with his son shortly after the disaster, sparking a massive manhunt.

Police had wanted to question him on possible charges of embezzlement and criminal negligence after a ferry owned by his family business, Chonghaedjin Marine Co, went down near Jindo island killing 300 passengers, who were mostly children.

Yonhap news agency reported that police found a heavily decomposed body in a plum field in Suncheon in June. Police spokeman Woo Hyung-ho said on Tuesday (22 July) that DNA samples from the body matched those of Yoo's brother.

Many of Yoo's family members have been arrested since the ferry disaster and his daughter, who lives in France, is currently fighting an extradition bid. Yoo's eldest son is still on the run.

Two separate trials, one for the ferry's captain and crew, and another for Chonghaejin Marine Co officials, began last month.