This is definitely one of the stranger throwdowns between two technology companies we've witnessed in recent memory. Senior LG executive Jo Seong-jin, who is usually one of the company's many faces at CES, may be prevented from attending the upcoming 2015 expo in Las Vegas. Per CNN, he's currently not allowed to travel outside South Korea thanks to a Samsung lawsuit that accuses Jo (and four other LG employees) of intentionally damaging Samsung-branded washing machines while both companies were gathered at Berlin's IFA trade show back in September.
According to reports at the time, Jo entered a local electronics store and proceeded to kick and break the doors of several Samsung Crystal Blue washing machines. These aren't your average laundromat utilities, either; the high-end units retail for approximately $2,700. The entire episode was captured on CCTV, Samsung said in its complaint. LG balked at the accusations and went on to publicly trash talk its bitter rival, telling The Wall Street Journal, "Unlike washing machines from other companies, a certain company's washing-machine model was particularly weak on the hinges."
A surreal example of the LG / Samsung feud
Another, separate incident reportedly took place at a different electronics shop; LG paid for the four machines damaged at that location. No charges were filed at the time, but Samsung later sued LG over claims of property damage and defamation. LG countered with a suit of its own, insisting that a Samsung worker had caused the damage before its own executives ever arrived.
And while other LG staffers mentioned in the complaint have reportedly cooperated with an ongoing inquiry, Jo has been kept busy by LG's end-of-year rush and preparations for CES — the very conference LG's chief of home appliances could now miss out on. If South Korean prosecutors agree to lift the travel ban, Jo has promised to give investigators his full attention upon returning from the conference. Who knew there could be such drama over a few washing machines?