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Porsche fined 780 million won for falsifying emissions

June 21,2019
Porsche Korea was fined 780.5 million won ($670,000) Wednesday for manipulating emissions test results to illegally import around 2,000 vehicles into the country.

The Korean unit of the German luxury automaker was accused of submitting false emission test results to the National Institute of Environmental Research between 2014 and 2015 in order to import 2,000 vehicles.

The Ministry of Environment came upon the incident in November 2017 and reported Porsche Korea, along with BMW Korea, to the prosecution. The Seoul Central District Court fined Porsche Korea on charges of forgery and falsification.

The amount was set at 500,000 won per vehicle.

“Porsche Korea exclusively benefited from this crime and the amount is not small,” said Judge Park Sang-koo during the ruling. “The company solely focused on gaining the most benefit for itself and failed to oblige related laws and manage their employees.”

The court also issued suspended jail sentences to two Porsche Korea employees on the same charges. The employees were sentenced to eight months and three months in jail, respectively, with one year of probation.

With the Wednesday ruling, Porsche has become the fifth auto brand to be found guilty by the Korean court of rigging emissions test results after Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Nissan Korea and FMK, the import partner of Ferrari for Korea.

Some experts claim that foreign automakers are increasingly caught rigging emission test results as Korea has mainly stayed lenient on the issue by levying affordable fines.

“The issue has surfaced multiple times in the past, but as the fine level stayed low, many foreign automakers have continued with the tradition,” said Kim Pil-soo, an automotive engineering professor at Daelim University.

BY KO JUN-TAE, PARK SARA [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]