LG boss may miss CES due to washing machine fiasco

The head of LG Electronics' consumer electronics division may miss out on the biggest tradeshow of the year due to an ongoing criminal investigation for allegedly damaging one of arch-rival Samsung's washing machines.

Cho Mu-hyun Senior Writer, ZDNet Korea
Cho Mu-hyun is a native of South Korea living in Seoul and working for ZDNet Korea as a senior writer covering Samsung, LG, Hyundai, SK and the Korean conglomerates, or chaebols, in general.
Cho Mu-hyun

Colin West McDonal/CNET

South Korean prosecutors have imposed a travel ban on Jo Seong-jin, head of LG's Home Appliance and Air Solution Company, who had been slated to represent LG at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show 2015 in Las Vegas.

Samsung earlier this year filed a lawsuit for property damages and defamation against Jo and four other LG Electronics executives after the IFA tradeshow in Berlin, Germany, claiming that the LG execs intentionally sabotaged the door hinges of one of its washing machines at an electronics store there. Samsung provided as evidence the damaged washing machine and CCTV footage allegedly showing Jo "willfully" damaging the appliance.

LG has strenuously denied the claims, and recently countersued Samsung for defamation and evidence tampering, claiming a Samsung employee damaged the washing machine beforehand.

While the four other LG executives involved in the investigations have been complying with prosecutors' summons, LG's appliances boss has not complied to any of the multiple requests to attend, citing packed schedules due to the year end's reshuffle and preparing for the upcoming tradeshow.

LG spokespersons said they have requested that the prosecutors temporarily lift the travel ban on Jo to allow him to attend the tradeshow in Las Vegas. Jo reportedly told prosecutors that he will fully comply with investigations once he comes back from the US in early January. Investigators are yet to accept his terms.

Samsung said the travel ban showed the seriousness of the case and lashed out at LG's "lack of respect for the law".