A former Hyundai Motor employee, a whistleblower who accused Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors of vehicle safety defects, will receive a reward worth $24 million (about 28.2 billion won) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) in the U.S.
According to AP and Reuters, on the 9th (local time), the NHTSA will pay more than $24 million to the whistleblower related to the provision of information on Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors' U.S. subsidiaries. This is the first time NHTSA has paid rewards since 2015 when it came up with regulations related to whistleblowers in automakers.
Kim Kwang-ho, former manager of Hyundai Motor, is the whistleblower who provided information on Hyundai and Kia's violation of the safety law.
Kim worked as an engineer for Hyundai Motor for more than 20 years and reported one after another to NHTSA and the Korean government in 2016, judging that Hyundai Motor was not taking appropriate measures even though it was aware of a defect in its own theta 2 engine.
Accordingly, NHTSA imposed a fine of $81 million in November last year and agreed with the two companies to invest a total of $56 million to strengthen safety performance measurements and develop quality data analysis systems. If the agreement is not met, the U.S. authorities will impose an additional $73 million on Hyundai and Kia Motors.
Under related laws, 30% of the penalty can be paid to a whistleblower who provides important information on matters imposing fines of more than $1 million.