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LG Exec Accused Over Bizarre Samsung Appliance Vandalism in Germany

An LG exec and his staff are being charged with visiting as many as two appliance shops in Berlin, Germany and vandalizing competitor Samsung washing machines.

Following recent news that Korean alcohol company execs personally orchestrated a rumor-mongering campaign against the competition on Korean home turf, the bizarre story of an LG executive allegedly vandalizing Samsung-made washing machines in two Berlin appliance shops earlier this month leads one to question whether the country’s highly-competitive industries are taking it all a little too seriously.

On September 3rd, sales staff at the two different appliance shops in Berlin found five display models on the showroom floor with broken doors. The sales staff called local police after CCTV allegedly showed Jo Seong-jin, the president of the Home Appliance Division of LG Electronics, heavily leaning on the door hinges of the Samsung Crystal Blue washing machines so that they would be unable to close properly. The LG team was in town for the 2014 IFA electronics show.

Samsung, wishing to avoid a scandal abroad, waited until related LG officials returned to Korea before filing a complaint with a court in Seoul. Samsung is charging that Jo, as well as several other officials, committed the acts of vandalism on the machines.

Jo and other LG staff were detained by German police but later released after they agreed to buy the damaged washing machines.

There is as yet no word on what charges will come about from the court in Seoul. One of the machines in question is now being flown back to Korea for inspection by the prosecutor’s office.

Only ‘Checking’ the Machines?

Following the incident, which was picked up by several international media outlets, LG Electronics released a statement that didn’t go as far as denying the allegation.

“It’s common for researchers and executives to visit and check products of rival companies. There is no reason for us to have sent researchers to break the machines,” LG said in the statement.

The company did, however, acknowledge that their staff paid a visit to the appliance shop.

“Our executives, which included a company president, indeed paid this shop a visit to check out a number of products,” LG’s statement said, without directly identifying the LG executives involved.


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