Prosecutors have secured internal documents containing circumstantial evidence that Hyundai Motor, which has implemented a recall related to the Theta 2 engine in the U.S. and Korea, did not reveal the cause of the defect. The document also contained figures suspected of scaling back the recall volume.
According to legal circles on June 2, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, which has been investigating the alleged cover-up of Hyundai Motor's engine defect, has secured and analyzed a number of Hyundai Motor's internal documents through search and seizure.
One of the documents was written in August 2015, just before Hyundai decided to recall 470,000 units of the Sonata with a Theta 2 engine in the U.S.
In the document, Hyundai Motor analyzed the cause of engine defects as "weakness in bearing structure robustness" and "poor quality control of oil lines."
Hyundai Motor has said that there is no problem with the engine made at its domestic plant, as the defects in the Theta 2 engine were caused by foreign substances in the production process of the Alabama plant between 2011 and 2012.
However, the design structure issue had already been pointed out in the internal report prepared before the recall, at a time when Hyundai Motor was suspected of hiding even though it knew there was a problem with the engine structure itself, not the process.
The prosecution is also known to have intensively investigated the reporting system for Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo and whether to report issues related to the recall.
As a result, attention is being paid to what extent the prosecution will hold Hyundai Motor responsible for the alleged cover-up or reduction of the recall.
Chung was accused by the Seoul YMCA in 2017 of violating the Automobile Management Act and fraud under the Act on the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Economic Crimes.
"Hyundai Motor denied the defects for eight years from 2010 before submitting a voluntary recall plan for the Theta 2 engine as the ministry announced its findings and a forced recall is imminent," the Seoul YMCA noted.