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(LEAD) LG executive questioned after damaging Samsung products

All Headlines 10:40 September 04, 2014

(ATTN: ADDS LG's explanation)

SEOUL, Sept. 4 (Yonhap) -- An executive of LG Electronics Inc. was questioned by police in Germany for allegedly damaging products of rival Samsung Electronics Co. on purpose at a Berlin mall, corporate sources said Thursday.

The executive, whose name was withheld, was reported to the local police by shop clerks at the SATURN Berlin Europa-Center after being spotted breaking the doors of four Samsung Crystal Blue washing machines.

The police questioned him and other LG staff members at their hotel but closed the case after they agreed to buy all of the damaged products, the sources said.

The incident took place just ahead of the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) trade show, the largest consumer electronics event in Europe, slated for Sept. 5-10 in Berlin, where the two leading South Korean tech giants go head-to-head with their newest products.

The LG executive reportedly denied the accusations, but CCTV footage showed him pressing down on the doors of the machines until they would not close properly.

"The executive was only checking Samsung's washing machines as their doors were shaking when the shop clerks accused him of damaging the products," an LG Electronics official said. "It is just one of those common incidents that occur ahead of electronics shows."

"There's no reason for our research staff to visit (the shop) if LG really intended to damage rivals' products," LG said separately. "If we had such a foul intention, we would have sent someone who would not be caught."

LG added that only "products of a specific brand" unexpectedly broke when its researchers tested rivals' goods at the shop, and that the staff were simply conducting routine market study.

Samsung, however, said CCTV footage also showed LG employees in SATURN Berlin Steglitz, another branch of the electronics shop, vandalizing displayed Samsung products. The company said its Berlin office will further investigate to find out if there are other similar incidents.


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