Samsung Electronics Co. has accused senior executives of domestic rival LG Electronics Inc. of intentionally vandalizing its washing machines at retail stores in Germany and has asked for an official investigation.
In a statement Sunday, Samsung said it had asked the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office to investigate executives from a Korean company who were seen as damaging its washing machines displayed at shopping malls in Berlin. A Samsung spokesman confirmed that the Korean company referred to was LG.
"The people in question have been implicated in deliberately destroying Samsung washing machines displayed at retail stores in Berlin, Germany, where, at the time, the annual IFA electronics trade show was underway," Samsung's statement said. "It is very unfortunate that Samsung had to request that a high-ranking executive be investigated by the nation's legal authorities, but this was inevitable ... the truth must be revealed for the sake of fostering fair competition."
LG Electronics denied Samsung's claim. It said in a statement that while it is true that some of its executives and staff, including a president, had visited a Berlin store and looked at various products, it is common for its employees to examine rival company's products abroad.
"If our company had an intention to destroy products of a certain company to tarnish the image of the product, it would be commonsensical to not have our executives to directly carry out such acts," LG's statement said. "We hope that this incident is not an effort to tarnish our company, which is the global No. 1 maker of washing machines."
LG said the model in question had weak hinges, but it did not say whether its executives had damaged the products.
Samsung said LG tarnished both its brand image and the reputation of its employees with claims that its washing machines were defective.