An executive from LG Electronics has been questioned by German police for allegedly vandalizing the doors of Samsung Electronics washing machines at a store in Berlin, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
The executive, who wasn't named in the report, was apparently in the German capital to attend this week's IFA consumer electronics show where Samsung and LG compete for attention with new smartphones, smartwatches, televisions and computers.
Police were called by staff of the Saturn Berlin Europa Center, a major electronics retailer, after they saw the executive pushing the doors of the machines until they would no longer close properly, reported Yonhap.
After questioning the executive and other LG staff at their hotel, police closed the case when the LG executive and staff agreed to pay for the four damaged washing machines, the agency said.
"I don't believe it's true, why would he do that?" an LG spokesman told IDG News Service at IFA on Thursday without elaborating on the incident.
In a statement to Yonhap, LG confirmed the executive was in the store but said he was only checking the doors of the washing machines because they were shaking.
"It is just one of those common incidents that occur ahead of electronics shows," Yonhap quoted LG as saying.
Samsung declined to provide any details of the incident.
"It is regrettable that such an incident might have occurred ahead of such an important consumer electronics event," the company said in an emailed statement.
LG and Samsung are South Korea's two biggest consumer electronics companies and major competitors. At packed news conferences over the last two days in Berlin, both companies have shown cutting-edge consumer electronics products including smartwatches, curved 4K high-definition televisions and Android-based smartphones.
Samsung Electronics is the bigger of the two companies. Last year it reported annual revenue of 229 trillion won (US$215 billion) against LG's 58 trillion won.
(Additional reporting by Mikael Ricknas)
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is [email protected]