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Samsung sues LG for vandalizing washing machines

Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images and David Becker | Getty Images

A top LG executive is being sued by Samsung for allegedly vandalizing the company's washing machines ahead of a trade show.

Jo Seong-ji, who heads up LG's home-appliance business, has been indicted by South Korean prosecutors on charges of damaging four high-end Samsung "Crystal Blue" washing machines before a trade show in Berlin in September 2014. Jo also faces charges of defamation and obstruction of business.

"The truth will be revealed in the courts," said Ham Yoon-keun, a lawyer for Jo, according to an LG statement.

The company has never disputed that its executives visited and inspected the washing machines, but maintains that if the appliances did break, it was because of poor workmanship from Samsung.

Samsung declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

The strange spat between two of South Korea's top electronics companies began in September, when Samsung accused some LG executives of breaking the doors of several washing machines at a Berlin shopping center. The incident was first reported in The Wall Street Journal.

LG agreed to pay for the damaged home appliances, but Samsung filed a lawsuit accusing its rival of property damaged and defamation. LG then countersued with allegations of evidence tampering. The two companies recently met in an unsuccessful mediation process, according to Reuters.

LG has now taken to YouTube and released edited CCTV footage showing the execs in question looking at the washing machines in the presence of Samsung's staff members.

The two technology giants have always been fierce rivals in the home appliance market. In 2013, Samsung and LG went head-to-head over whose fridge has the bigger capacity and could fit more vegetables inside.

Samsung has been more dominant in recent times, given the success of its smartphone division and connected-appliance range. The company's European president told CNBC in a recent interview that it was ramping up investment in its smart home capabilities, highlighting the new battleground for the rival companies.