LG headquarters stormed by prosecutors over washing machine debacle

South Korean authorities have commenced a search and seizure at LG Electronics' headquarters in Seoul as part of their investigation into whether LG employees intentionally damaged 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
2 min read

What started off as a somewhat amusing rivalry between South Korean tech giants LG and Samsung has now escalated into a full-blown investigation with local prosecutors commencing a search and seizure at LG's Seoul, South Korea headquarters and factory at Changwon, South Gyeongnam Province, early December 26.

The feud began when Samsung filed a lawsuit against LG, alleging that LG appliance boss Jo Seong-jin and other execs wilfully sabotaged Samsung-made washing machines at a electronics store in Berlin during the IFA 2014 tradeshow. The search of LG premises also included the office of Jo Seong-jin. Authorities reportedly seized the hard drives and other data of the those that attended the IFA tradeshow along with Jo.

A spokesman for the prosecution confirmed the search but declined to comment on what precise charge it was executing the seizures or the scope of the search. An LG spokesman also confirmed the search, but said the company was unaware of the extent.

Earlier this year Samsung filed a lawsuit for property damages and defamation against Jo and the other LG Electronics executives after the IFA tradeshow, while LG counter-sued earlier this month claiming defamation and evidence tampering.

Prosecutors have currently imposed a travel ban on the LG appliance boss due to failure to comply to multiple requests to attend investigations. LG has said that Jo will fully comply after the CES 2015 in Las Vegas, if prosecutors will temporarily waive the travel ban. Jo was expected attend the tradeshow, though whether the travel ban will be lifted remains to be seen.