SKorea Kia Motors workers arrested for allegedly selling auto secrets to China
Published : Thu, 10 May 2007 11:07
By : Agencies
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SEOUL (XFN-ASIA) - Five current and former employees of Kia Motors have been arrested for allegedly selling automotive technology to China, causing potential losses of billions of dollars to a key industry, prosecutors said.
The prosecutors' office in Suwon city south of Seoul said the five are accused of stealing key technical secrets regarding car assembly.
Prosecutors described the case as the country's most serious industrial espionage incident, that could cause damage of 'a few billion dollars.'
Kia, the country's second largest car maker and an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, said the industrial espionage may help China catch up with South Korea in auto making.
'We are still assesing the damage, although we are treating very seriously a case that may help China narrow the technology gap quickly with South Korea,' Kia spokesman Lee In-Ho told Agence France Presse.
Technologies allegedly sold to China were related to Kia's popular sports utility vehicle, the Sorento, and a new model that will hit the market in December, he said.
On nine occasions since last November, the accused allegedly diverted a total of 57 secrets to an unidentified Chinese auto company through a technology consulting company in South Korea.
The consultant allegedly sold Kia's intellectual property to the Chinese company for 230 mln won. It also tried to sell the technologies to another Chinese automaker, prosecutors said.
( 1 usd = 925.10 won )
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