LG’s washer executive accused of dirty work

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LG’s washer executive accused of dirty work

Samsung Electronics yesterday accused Cho Sung-jin, CEO of the Home Appliance Company at LG Electronics, of intentionally damaging a Samsung washing machine at a retail store in Berlin on Sept. 3 and asked prosecutors in Seoul to investigate.

Samsung said Cho broke the door hinge of a Crystal Blue Washing Machine at a Steglitz store and was captured by closed circuit TV. Many electronics executives were in Berlin for the IFA 2014 electronics show.

“The Steglitz store called the police and confirmed that the culprit who damaged the product was a CEO of a Korean company, but it did not pursue the issue,” said a Samsung official.

About two hours before the incident at the Steglitz store, two LG Electronics executives who attended IFA 2014 were caught damaging Samsung washing machines at Europa Center, a retail store in Berlin, and the store called police, according to Samsung.

Samsung said it formally requested an investigation of Cho, another LG employee specializing in washing machines also surnamed Cho and an unidentified LG employee at the Supreme Prosecutors Office in Seoul.

LG says it compensated Samsung for damaging four washing machines.

“We express our deep regret at the fact that not only executives of LG Electronics, but also someone in charge of LG Electronics’ home appliance business have committed such acts,” said a Samsung Electronics spokesman.

The CEO of LG Electronics’ Home Appliance Company, who joined LG Electronics in 1976, has been referred to as the Ph.D. of washing machines.

Having led the LG Electronics’ development of washing machines, Cho was chosen as the head of home appliances at LG in 2012.

As the first LG Electronics CEO with only a high school diploma, Cho is a legend among engineers and salarymen. He even worked as a model in television ads for LG appliances.

Meanwhile, LG Electronics denied Samsung’s claims yesterday in a press release.

“It is common for executives to examine competitors’ products thoroughly on their business trips,” said Na Ju-young, a spokesman for LG Electronics. “If anyone intended to damage the products, it is common sense that executives would not have been asked to do it.

“Unlike other products, Samsung’s washing machines had relatively weak hinges. We will actively cooperate with the prosecutors’ investigation, and we hope that this is not about damaging the reputation of the world’s No. 1 washing machine company.”

BY kim jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]















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