An LG Electronics executive has been indicted by prosecutors in South Korea on charges of vandalizing high-end Samsung washing machines, The Wall Street Journal reports. Jo Seong-jin, head of LG's home appliances division, is accused of deliberately damaging four Samsung Crystal Blue washing machines at a Berlin trade show in September. Two other LG execs have been indicted on similar charges.
LG says the washing machines are just poorly made
This luxury laundry dispute has been rumbling for months. LG initially agreed to pay for the damage back in September, but Samsung filed a lawsuit later in the month citing property damage and defamation. LG, in turn, countersued, complaining of evidence tampering.
LG also turned to the court of public opinion by releasing the above video, showing edited surveillance footage of the September incident. The nine-minute video shows Jo and other LG employees inspecting the appliances in plain sight of uniformed Samsung personnel hired for the event.
Jo's lawyer Ham Yoon-keun says there is not enough evidence to warrant a conviction. In a statement to WSJ, Ham said, "It is questionable whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that the president of a global company deliberately destroyed the machines where employees of the competing company were present."
LG, in typical schoolyard spat style, says its employees can't be held responsible for Samsung's shoddy craftsmanship, telling WSJ in December, "Unlike washing machines from other companies, a certain company's washing machine model was particularly weak on the hinges." The Samsung Crystal Blue washing machines retail for approximately $2,700.
Reuters reports that prosecutors recently held a mediation between the companies, but that attempt to avoid going to trail was unsuccessful.
Update February 16th, 4:03AM ET: This article has been updated to include the LG video showing surveillance footage.