Former General Motors Manager Found Guilty of Conspiring to Receive Bribe from Foreign Parts Supplier Seeking Contract

Former General Motors manager guilty of conspiring to receive bribe from foreign parts supplier seeking contract. Learn more about this case and its impact on the automotive industry.

In a recent court case, a former manager at General Motors (GM) has been found guilty of conspiring to receive a bribe from a foreign parts supplier seeking a lucrative contract. The manager, Hyoung Nam So, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery after it was revealed that he had received $3.45 million in cash from the foreign parts supplier. Despite knowing that the supplier was not the lowest bidder for the contract, So manipulated the bidding process and awarded the contract to the supplier in exchange for a $5 million bribe. This case highlights the serious consequences of corruption and the importance of maintaining transparency and integrity within business dealings. So is now facing a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

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Former General Motors manager found guilty of bribery conspiracy

In a significant development, a former manager at General Motors (GM) has been found guilty of conspiring to solicit and receive a $5 million bribe from a South Korean company. This bribe was in exchange for a promise to deliver a contract worth over $100 million for various car parts. The manager, Hyoung Nam So, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. The details of the case shed light on the extent of corruption within the automotive industry and its impact on fair competition.

Details of the case

According to evidence presented at the trial, So, while working as a manager and team leader at GM, oversaw the supply of parts used in the interiors of GM automobiles in North America. In 2015, a foreign parts supplier paid So a total of $3.45 million in cash. The bribe was facilitated through a complex arrangement involving the owner of the South Korean parts company, Wookyung MIT. So promised to award the contract to Wookyung MIT in exchange for $5 million in cash.

Sentencing hearing scheduled

United States District Judge André Birotte Jr. has scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 24, 2024. So faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. The outcome of this hearing will serve as a crucial precedent in combating corruption within the automotive industry and sending a strong message that such illegal activities will not go unpunished.


Introduction to General Motors

General Motors, commonly known as GM, is a renowned American multinational corporation that specializes in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of vehicles and vehicle parts. It operates on a global scale and has a substantial presence in the automotive industry, serving customers in various regions around the world. With a rich history dating back to 1908, GM has been at the forefront of innovation and industry leadership.

Foreign parts suppliers in the automotive industry

The automotive industry relies heavily on the contributions of foreign parts suppliers. These suppliers play a crucial role in manufacturing high-quality and cost-effective components for automobiles. As the automotive industry continues to expand globally, the collaboration between automakers and foreign parts suppliers has become increasingly vital. However, this case highlights the risks associated with bribery and corrupt practices in this sector, undermining fair competition and ethical business practices.

The Bribery Scheme

Accusations against Hyoung Nam So

Hyoung Nam So, also known as “Brian So,” was accused of engaging in a bribery scheme to secure a lucrative contract for a South Korean parts company. As a high-ranking manager at General Motors, So had the authority to influence the awarding of contracts for parts used in GM vehicles. Prosecutors alleged that he abused his position for personal gain and conspired with the owner of Wookyung MIT to receive a substantial bribe.

Timeline of events

The bribery scheme unfolded over a period of several months in 2015. So promised to award the contract to Wookyung MIT, which was to be awarded through a competitive bidding process. In return, Wookyung MIT arranged for $1 million in cash to be transferred from South Korea to Los Angeles. An accomplice then transported the cash to So in Troy, Michigan, where he was residing at the time. The owner of Wookyung MIT personally delivered the remaining $2.45 million in cash to So during a meeting at a hotel in Troy.

Transfer of cash from South Korea to the United States

The transfer of cash from South Korea to the United States was an integral part of the bribery scheme. The money was covertly transported by an accomplice and handed over to So in multiple installments. The use of cash as a bribe payment method highlights the clandestine nature of the scheme and the attempts made to avoid detection. However, law enforcement authorities successfully uncovered these illicit transactions and seized funds believed to be the proceeds of the bribery scheme from a private vault in Los Altos.

Investigation and Seizure

Involvement of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

The investigation into the bribery scheme was led by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. HSI is entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing a wide range of federal laws, including those related to financial crimes and corruption. In collaboration with other federal and state investigators, HSI played a pivotal role in uncovering the illicit activities of Hyoung Nam So and seizing the funds associated with the bribery scheme.

Seizure of funds believed to be proceeds of the bribery scheme

As part of the investigation, law enforcement authorities seized $3.19 million, which they believed to be the proceeds of the bribery scheme. These funds were discovered in a private vault located in Los Altos, California. In 2017, HSI returned the seized money to the South Korean authorities, enabling them to take the necessary legal action against the owner of Wookyung MIT for their involvement in the bribery scheme.

Legal Consequences

Maximum sentence for Hyoung Nam So

Hyoung Nam So, upon conviction, faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. The sentencing hearing, scheduled for May 24, 2024, will determine the extent of punishment So will receive for his involvement in the bribery conspiracy. The outcome of this case will serve as a clear statement that corrupt practices within the automotive industry will not be tolerated and that individuals involved will face severe legal consequences.

Prosecution of the owner of Wookyung MIT in South Korea

While the focus of this case has primarily been on Hyoung Nam So’s conviction, it is essential to acknowledge that the owner of Wookyung MIT, who orchestrated the bribery scheme, faced prosecution in South Korea. This underscores the global cooperation and collaboration required to combat corruption effectively. International efforts to hold all individuals involved accountable demonstrate a commitment to ensuring fair competition and maintaining the trust of consumers in the automotive industry.

Efforts to Combat Corruption

Multi-agency task force combating financial crimes in Southern California

The successful investigation and prosecution of the bribery scheme involving General Motors and a foreign parts supplier were made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Los Angeles El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force. This multi-agency task force is dedicated to combating financial crimes in Southern California. By pooling the expertise and resources of federal and state investigators, this task force plays a vital role in uncovering and prosecuting individuals engaged in fraudulent activities.

Assistance from the Office of International Affairs

The Office of International Affairs, operating within the Justice Department, provided significant assistance during the investigation into the bribery scheme. The office specializes in facilitating international cooperation and coordination in criminal matters. By working closely with law enforcement authorities in South Korea, the Office of International Affairs helped ensure that the owner of Wookyung MIT faced legal consequences in their home country. Such collaborative efforts are essential in combating corruption that transcends borders.

Prosecution and Legal Team

Federal prosecutors handling the case

The prosecution of Hyoung Nam So was led by Assistant United States Attorneys Jeff Mitchell and David Y. Pi of the Major Frauds Section. These federal prosecutors played a crucial role in presenting the evidence gathered during the investigation and building a strong case against So. Their dedication and commitment to upholding justice and combating corruption have resulted in a successful conviction.

Contact information for public information officer

For further information regarding the case, the public is encouraged to contact Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer, at or (213) 894-4465. The Public Information Officer can provide additional details and clarification about the investigation, prosecution, and legal consequences of the bribery conspiracy involving General Motors.

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