BMW Korea slapped with $12.9 million fine for altering documents

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2019-01-10 16:39 Updated : 2019-01-10 16:39
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[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- Germany auto giant BMW was slapped with a 14.5 billion won ($12.9 million) fine for altering documents on gas emissions tests to secure the government endorsement of car sales in South Korea.

A district court in Seoul ruled on Thursday that BMW Korea was found guilty of violating the customs law. Six former and incumbent BMW Korea officials received a jail term of up to ten months. Three were arrested in a courtroom but three others received suspended sentences.

They were accused of altering emission documents from 2011 to receive certification from the National Institute of Environmental Research, a state body. With forged documents, BMW Korea allegedly brought in some 29,000 cars.

The court's decision followed a flurry of legal actions that began after transportation authorities denounced BMW Korea for covering up the risk of fires in cars. More than 50 BMW cars caught fire on the road last year.

The South Korean branch of Audi Volkswagen was slapped with a record fine of $31.8 million in 2016 after investigators found that the German company had illegally changed parts to fabricate emissions tests. A Volkswagen executive in South Korea has been arrested for forging reports and importing cars without getting proper certification.