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LG posts footage of exec 'testing' Samsung washing machine

LG has categorically denied charges that one of its senior execs vandalised rival Samsung's washing machines, and posted footage of the alleged incident to YouTube.

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Screenshot by CNET Korea

Following the indictment of one of its senior executives for vandalism of rival Samsung's washing machines, LG has denied all wrongdoing and posted the allegedly damning CCTV footage of the act to YouTube.

The footage, LG says, proves that the executive in question was testing, rather than sabotaging, South Korean rival Samsung's washing machines. Samsung claims the footage is "arbitrarily edited."

The move follows South Korean prosecutors' indictment of Jo Seong-jin, head of LG's Home Appliance and Air Solution company, and two other LG employees on charges they wilfully damaged rival Samsung's washing machines during the IFA tradeshow in Berlin last year. Samsung instigated the investigations by filing suit against LG for property damages and defamation. LG denied the charges and counter-sued Samsung for defamation and tampering evidence, but the prosecutors have declined to follow this counter-suit, citing lack of evidence.

The video, embedded below and entitled "This is LG Electronics' Jo Seong-jin," includes CCTV footage that shows Jo and his employees in three separate encounters with a Samsung Crystal Blue Door front-load washing machine, with accompanying explanations by LG. LG alleges this is the footage turned over to the prosecution by Samsung during the investigation.

LG says that Samsung's allegations are based on the second encounter, where Jo is shown to be bending his knees and pushing down on the door of the washing machine with his hands, with what looks like visible force. LG claimed that Jo was performing standard product tests, out of habit as an engineer, and the footage was accompanied and followed by images that showed people from non-LG home appliance and home-shopping companies pushing down on the door in a similar fashion.

It also showed images of what looked to be regular consumers -- IFA is open to the public -- using the door roughly, such as hanging a hefty looking blanket on the door, or leaning on the door while taking the laundry out. A child was also seen sitting on the door.

LG also pointed out that Jo tested other products besides the washing machine on display at the Samsung store, in full view of Samsung promoters who checked on the condition of the appliances and did not ask Jo to stop. That Jo conducted the "test" in the open, with Samsung employees as witnesses, made Samsung's claim of him "secretly sabotaging" the washing machine preposterous, LG said.

Near the end of the video, LG showed images of what it claimed are results from its re-enactment of the testing. LG concluded that the same testing could not cause as much damage as Samsung said had occurred, with a not-so-subtle suggestion that Samsung may have tempered with the washing machine, which was airlifted from Berlin to be turned in as evidence to prosecution.

In the latest statement, LG's Jo apologized for the situation itself, which he called "unnecessary controversy," but again proclaimed his innocence.

Sources familiar with the matter told CNET's sister site ZDNet Korea that Samsung and LG execs met earlier this year in a meeting that was not made public, under the mediation of the prosecution, to possibly settle the issue. The talks fell through, however, as LG declined to apologize for what it claims it did not do.

Samsung in a statement claimed the video was "arbitrarily edited" and distorts the truth. "The prosecution has already sufficiently examined the entire video, not the edited version, and has determined that there is enough suspicion of willfully damaging, so we have decided that just because LG Electronics posted a video it would be inappropriate for us to release the entire video as tit-for-tat," a spokesperson for Samsung said.

Samsung also claimed that its employees, not seen in the video, were at a distance and looking in a different direction when Jo was damaging the washing machine, and were therefore unable to protest. It also said Jo's actions shown in the video, when performed by a healthy adult such as himself, "clearly" broke the bounds of conventional testing.

An LG spokesman said there was nothing to add to the statement the company released and the video it posted.