Prosecutors in South Korea have raided LG Electronics’ headquarters in connection with allegations that the company’s employees purposely damaged Samsung washing machines in Berlin. Samsung requested that officials investigate some employees of LG who were allegedly seen destroying a number of the washing machines it had on display at two stores before the IFA electronics show in Berlin in September.
LG offices in Seoul raided
Reuters reports that officials converged on LG’s headquarters in Seoul, searching the offices of home appliance chief Jo Seong-jin and a number of others. They reportedly took documents and some computer hard drives that were related to LG’s presence at the IFA show. Authorities also apparently looked through LG’s appliance factory in Changwon.
An LG spokesperson said in a statement today that the raid was the “result of a rival’s unilateral and excessive claims.” The person reportedly confirmed that prosecutors had conducted the search but said they were unaware of to what extent the search was carried out.
Media reports out of South Korea also indicate that Jo has been barred from leaving the country before the Consumer Electronics Show, which is scheduled for Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas. Prosecutors reportedly imposed that travel ban after he did not comply with several requests to be in attendance at investigations. LG said that the executive will comply after CES if prosecutors temporarily lift the travel ban.
Samsung, LG sue each other
Samsung filed a lawsuit against LG after the September incident, and LG counter-sued Samsung on Dec. 12. In its lawsuit, Samsung alleged property damages and defamation, according to CNET, against Jo and the other LG executives. In its case, LG alleged defamation and tampering with evidence.
Samsung said the washing machines allegedly damaged by LG employees retail for about $2,700. A spokesperson for LG previously confirmed that their employees had been looking at Samsung’s washing machines in Berlin around the time of the IFA show. However, the person said its “researchers” did not deliberately vandalize the Samsung appliances.
The two companies’ rivalry in home appliances has become increasingly bitter over the years, with each battling for their share of the market.