GM supervisor charged in South Korean bribery case



A former Normal Motors supervisor was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on a cost that he took greater than $3 million in bribes from a South Korean elements provider in return for a serious contract with the Detroit automaker.

Hyoung Nam So, 46, who now lives in Irvine, took $3.45 million in money from the elements provider in late 2015, a payoff for rigging the bids on a contract to provide GM with auto portray, window movie and molding, in accordance with a federal grand jury indictment issued Wednesday.

On the time, So, who goes by Brian, was a supervisor in GM’s International Buying and Provide Chain group in Michigan, the place he oversaw the availability of elements used to construct vehicle interiors.

Since January 2020, So has been the worldwide buying chief at Karma Automotive, a luxurious automotive firm in Irvine, in accordance with his on-line resume. There was no response to a request for remark left by voicemail Thursday at Karma Automotive.

So’s legal professional, H. Dean Steward, declined to remark.

GM launched an announcement saying it was cooperating with federal investigators.

“Normal Motors doesn’t tolerate or condone corruption or bribery of any sort,” an organization spokesperson mentioned. “The unlawful conduct alleged right here is totally inconsistent with our code of conduct and company insurance policies.”

The indictment charged So with one depend of conspiracy to commit bribery. Prosecutors say the quantity of the alleged kickback was unusually excessive for a buying agent at considered one of America’s greatest companies.

“The bribe quantity could be very important,” Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeff Mitchell mentioned. “It’s bigger than most bribe quantities that folks see in company prosecutions.”

Brokers from U.S. Homeland Safety Investigations seized $3.19 million in money from a personal vault in Los Altos in 2017, they usually consider that was a part of the bribe proceeds, authorities mentioned. The cash was returned to South Korean authorities, they mentioned.

The plot started at an October 2015 assembly in South Korea, the place So instructed the proprietor of the elements provide firm that he might guarantee it received a big GM contract in return for $5 million in money, in accordance with the indictment.

The provider — listed within the indictment as an unnamed co-conspirator — and one other unnamed confederate organized for cash brokers in South Korea and Los Angeles to switch $1 million in money to america, the indictment says. The confederate rented a automotive in L.A. and drove the money to Detroit, the place the provider picked it up and gave it to So at a lodge in Troy, Mich., it says.

After a competitor submitted a decrease bid, the provider who paid the bribe revised its proposal, and So then really helpful that GM executives award the contract to the corporate that paid the kickback, in accordance with the indictment.

Per week later, it says, the provider’s confederate collected one other $2.45 million in money from Los Angeles cash brokers and drove it to Detroit, the place the provider once more picked up the cash and delivered it to So, this time exterior a restaurant in Detroit.

The provider was prosecuted in South Korea, in accordance with the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace in Los Angeles.

Kookje Shinmun, a newspaper in Busan, South Korea, reported that an unnamed auto elements provider was arrested and indicted in 2017 on expenses of paying a $3.45-million “rebate” on a $35-million sale of automotive gear to GM, however the closing final result of the case was unclear.

Instances Employees Author Jeong Park contributed to this report.

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