According to prosecutors in Seoul, 10 people have been indicted on charges of passing along blueprints of component parts made by the Hyundai Motor to a Chinese automaker.
The prosecutor’s Office in Seoul said a 30-year-old man, identified only by his surname Cho, due to Korea’s strict libel laws, is suspected of selling 71 proprietary Hyundai designs for car bumpers produced by a Hyundai/Kia subcontractor.
Cho was working there as part of the development team for a new car model to be produced by Beijing automaker, BAIC Motor Co.
The prosecutors offices said others the indicted were mostly Hyundai’s subcontractors and that they either provided or received Hyundai business secrets to develop the new car in China.
Second time this year secrets leaked to China
In June, blueprints for Hyundai and Kia Motors’ new models, including some still on the drawing board, were leaked by 22 people. Daum news agency reported at the time that the damage due to the loss of proprietary designs was estimated at $60 million.
The leaks were by a former Hyundai employee and the head of a Korean design firm, along with twenty others, according to Seoul Metropolitan police.
“It has been confirmed that the materials were leaked through emails because of close connections,” the superintendent in charge of the investigation, said. “It doesn’t seem to be part of an organized crime group.”