A bizarre spat has broken out between South Korean manufacturing giants Samsung and LG, with Samsung accusing its rival of damaging its goods.
Samsung says employees of LG Electronics, one a senior executive, were seen deliberately destroying some washing machines in stores in Germany.
Samsung says the vandalism took place earlier this month ahead of a major electronics trade fair in Berlin.
LG accepts two machines were damaged but said it was done accidentally.
It said the damage occurred because the model’s hinges were weak.
LG said its executives had been examining its rivals’ goods and it had offered to pay for four machines at one store, although only two were damaged by them during the inspection.
German police have already questioned those involved.
Samsung said in a statement: “It is very unfortunate that Samsung had to request that a high-ranking executive be investigated by the nation’s legal authorities, but this was inevitable, as we concluded that we had to get to the bottom of this incident.”
It has asked prosecutors in Seoul to investigate.
An LG spokeswoman told Reuters that Jo Seong-jin, head of the company’s home appliances division, was one of the people named in Samsung’s investigation request.
LG said in a statement: “If our company had an intention to destroy products of a certain company to tarnish the image of the product, it would be common sense to not have our executives directly carry out such acts.
“We hope that this is not an attempt to damage our reputation.”
The two companies are fierce rivals, competing in a number of different markets, including phones and televisions.
LG claims to be the world’s largest maker of washing machines, with Samsung the second largest.
In the past, LG and Samsung have confronted each other over smartphones, televisions, fridges and air-conditioners. Washing machines is a new front in the global battle.”