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Prosecutors Raid LG Headquarter for Washing Machine Charges by Samsung

( [email protected] ) Dec 26, 2014 05:43 PM EST
We have mentioned before that the tech giants of South Korea are LG and Samsung, makers of smartphones like the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy S5, as well as all kinds of electronics for consumers.  Both companies take up a lot of space at the annual CES show in Las Vegas, but recent charges from Samsung to LG could complicate LG's presence at CES this year.
Did LG sabotage Samsung's Washers? Photo: CNET

We have mentioned before that the tech giants of South Korea are LG and Samsung, makers of smartphones like the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy S5, as well as all kinds of electronics for consumers.  Both companies take up a lot of space at the annual CES show in Las Vegas, but recent charges from Samsung to LG could complicate LG's presence at CES this year. 

According to CNET, the charges are due to a lawsuit for property damages and defamation from Samsung is directed at LG Home Appliance and Air Solution Company head Jo Seong-jin.  Samsung claims that LG executives deliberately sabotaged the door hinges of Samsung washing machines at an electronics store in Berlin.  This was not a mere case of vandalism, because at the time, both companies were showing off their products at IFA Berlin, the world's leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances.  A defective Samsung product being sold at a store near the trade show could easily generate some negative publicity for the company, thus making LG appear the better competitor. 

Samsung has evidence of this damaged washing machine and even has CCTV footage allegedly showing Jo Seong-jin damaging a Samsung appliance.  LG has denied these claims, and has even countersued Samsung for defamation and evidence tampering, even claiming that it was a Samsung employee that damaged the washing machine. 

CNET reports an escalation of this legal battle as local prosecutors have commenced a search and seizure at LG's Seoul, South Korea headquarters and factory at Changwon, South Gyeongnam Province on December 26.  This search consisted of the office of Jo Seong-jin, and the authorities have reportedly seized the hard drives and other data of those LG employees that attended the IFA tradeshow. 

Prosecutors in the case have imposed a travel ban on Jo Seong-jin, and this is due to his failure to comply with multiple requests to attend investigations on this issue.  This means that Jo Seong-jin cannot attend the CES trade who in Las Vegas in the first week of January in 2015.  CES is a trade show that is almost as big as IFA Berlin, and both Samsung and LG have a lot of "floor presence" with their large booths and products on display for the annual show. 

LG has stated that Jo Seong-jin intends to fully comply with the investigation after the CES 2015 trade show, provided the prosecutors waive the travel ban.  He is expected to attend, but it is possible that he could be blocked with restrictions.