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LG Chem: SK’s ‘unfair’ scouting practices are at core of countersuit

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LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol (LG Chem). THE KOREA HERALD/ANN

LG Chem: SK’s ‘unfair’ scouting practices are at core of countersuit

South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd on Tuesday released its second statement in response to SK Innovation Co Ltd’s announcement to file a countersuit against the company and its affiliate LG Electronics Inc, emphasising again the nature of the legal dispute lies with “unfair practices”.

“The essence of the lawsuit against SK lies in the company’s unfair scouting practices,” LG Chem said. “It’s neither about the national interest nor negative publicity.”

In a statement released in response to SK Innovation’s announcement last week that it would file a countersuit, LG Chem reiterated that SK Innovation, a relatively latecomer in the electric vehicle battery market, scouted over 100 former LG Chem employees in a period of less than two years – October 2017 to April this year – through headhunters.

LG contends that headhunters and former LG employees “targeted” workforce in specific technology fields and persuaded them to apply for jobs in SK. LG has said that those who had passed the primary document screening were told to elaborate on major business projects by period and reveal the names of colleagues.

“It was proven that the former employees did elaborate on the company’s core technology information at the time and searched for the needed documents and downloaded them before they left the company,” the LG statement said.

“If [SK Innovation] believes it to have not committed any wrongdoing, it must stop its attempt to sway the public by hiding the essence of the issue and faithfully face the lawsuit to clear right from wrong.”

LG Chem, however, added that it is open to holding CEO-level talks should SK Innovation be willing to admit their fault, apologise and discuss the level of compensation.

In response to the claim, SK has said the recruitment process took place openly upon the employees’ voluntary applications.

LG had filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (US ITC) on April 29 and sued SK Innovation’s branch in the state of Georgia, where the company has started to construct an electric vehicle battery plant, with a local court, petitioning that it ban sales of SK products produced from the Georgia plant.

The US ITC decided to open an investigation into the case on May 29. The preliminary conclusion of the investigation will be released in June of next year. THE KOREA HERALD

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