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LG Executive Accused of Damaging Samsung Washers on Store Display

LG, whose appliance chief is accused of purposely damaging a Samsung washing machine at a store, said the executive was testing its rival's products.

SEOUL - Electronics giant LG, whose appliance chief is accused of purposely damaging a Samsung washing machine at a store display stand, issued a video clip Monday that it says shows the executive was merely testing its rival's products.

The video from the incident was released on YouTube days after Jo Seong-jin and two other LG Electronics employees were indicted by South Korean prosecutors, escalating a bitter dispute between the cross-town peers.

In a nearly nine-minute video containing edited footage from surveillance cameras, Jo and other LG employees are seen touring a Samsung exhibit at a shop in Berlin. The officials are seen opening and closing the doors of appliances, with uniformed Samsung retail representatives sometimes looking on.

"There were many people around besides those I was on this business trip with, and Samsung workers were looking on right next to us," Jo said in an accompanying statement. "They would not have stood by had I deliberately damaged a washing machine."

Samsung said the clip released by LG zooms in on Jo when he damaged the washing machine, so viewers cannot see how Samsung retail representatives were looking elsewhere at that moment. Samsung said it will not release the original video, however, calling such a response "inappropriate".

The spat is the latest in a run of public disputes between the rivals.

Soon after the incident, LG had agreed to pay for what it called accidental damage to four machines after mediation by German authorities, but it couldn't resist taking a pot shot at the quality of its rival's products. Samsung railed against what it described as slanderous claims and filed a complaint, which LG has contested.

Mediation efforts by South Korean prosecutors failed to resolve the dispute, people familiar with the matter have said.

The footage provided by LG on YouTube shows Jo opening and closing the door of a Samsung washer several times. The executive is also seen pushing on the door vertically, but LG says that the actions are Jo's routine tests on home appliances products.

"I apologize from the bottom of my heart once again to have unintentionally caused such trouble at a time of difficult economic conditions," Jo said in a statement.

- Reuters