Korean police have detained two people and suspect 20 other for allegedly leaking Hyundai Motor Group car designs to a Chinese car company.
Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said that a former employee of a Hyundai subcontractor, identified only as Kim (per Korea’s strict confidentiality laws), is suspected of having stolen designs for the company’s latest models last year from March to September.
Authorities say he then passed those on to a car design company that is subcontracted by a Chinese firm.
Twenty others are believed to be involved and have been booked with detention for helping them. During interrogation, the suspects denied the allegations and it is unclear if this was for a set sum of money or for positions within the Chinese car company.
Though police could not confirm whether the designs had been used, Hyundai officials estimate the potential losses at $61 million.
Reports are that the leaked information includes designs of 30 different models, including models not yet unveiled.
“Our investigation is ongoing. We believe there are more cases,” a police spokesman told reporters. “Such crimes not only damage the finances of private companies but also the nation.”
Another version of this was published on Branding in Asia