Korean newspapers are reporting that a spot of industrial espionage involving their Chinese neighbours appears to have cost LG Electronics up to £500 million.

According to prosecutors in Seoul, a 49-year-old former manager at LG’s plasma TV unit jumped ship in 2005 and headed to Changhong-Orion PDP-Chaihong (COC) in China.

Hard drive used

Headhunting happens every day, of course, but the problem is the manager took over 1,000 sensitive LG documents related to a new plasma display technology with him on an external hard drive.

The reports claim that the alleged miscreant not only shared LG’s secrets, but also received a £150,000 annual salary, a house and a car. Apparently, he was arrested in Korea while taking a break from helping COC set up a new plasma factory in Szechuan.