(ATR) The heir apparent to Olympic sponsor Samsung is found guilty of bribery.
Jay Lee in court after being sentenced. (Korean Media Pool)
A court in Seoul sentenced Samsung vice chair Jay Lee to five years in prison for bribery after a trial that began soon after his arrest in February.
He was charged in connection with the scandal that toppled the government of former president of Korea Geun-hye Park. She was impeached last year and is still on trial on an array of corruption charges.
Lee and four other company executives were convicted of supplying more than $6 million to Park through a close friend of the president who’s already in prison for her crimes.
The financial dealings apparently have no connection to the Samsung Olympic sponsorship. The company has been a worldwide sponsor since 1998 in the mobile phone category.
But that sponsorship expires in 2020 and negotiations presumably would be underway soon on whether Samsung wishes to renew. Lee has led the company’s Olympic planning so his loss to a prison sentence could have some effect on Samsung’s interest in the Olympic Games.
With the first winter Olympics coming to South Korea in just five months, Samsung has been remarkably low-key in its promotion of these hometown Games. The profile will rise in October when the Olympic Torch Relay gets underway. Samsung is one of the three sponsors of the hundred day event.
Attorneys for Samsung say they will be appealing the sentence, but Lee remains in custody as he has since his arrest.
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Bach Visits Alibaba
Ma, Bach, and Yu at the Alibaba Campus (IOC/Twitter)
Thomas Bach and IOC Vice President Zaiqing Yu received a tour of the Alibaba headquarters this week.
Jack Ma, chairman of the Alibaba Group, gave the pair a tour of the company’s flagship campus in Hangzhou, China. Alibaba became an IOC TOP Sponsor in January in the “cloud services” and “e-commerce platform” categories through 2028. It is the first Chinese company to become an IOC sponsor.
During the tour Ma presented Bach with Alibaba’s technological vision for the Olympics, including future cloud services. Bach and Ma unveiled a commemorative stone detailing the partnership, according to the IOC.
“The Olympic Movement is a great global platform and we want to get more young people involved,” Ma said in a statement. “With the technology we have, with the young talent we have, we can make the Olympics more creative, more fun, more entertaining and more efficient.”
During his visit Bach also toured facilities that will be used for the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
Beijing 2022 Brings on Air China
Athletes and officials heading to 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics will travel to Beijing aboard the jets of Air China.
Dancing flight attendants and pilots with a 747 backdrop launch the Air China sponsorship for the 2022 Winter Olympics. (Air China)
With a 747 as part of the stage in an airline hangar at Beijing International Airport, executives from Beijing 2022 and Air China signed a deal believed to be worth as much as $100 million in cash and services.
The airline, the Chinese national carrier, officially will be known as the Passenger Air Transportation Services Partner.
Among the obligations of Air China: tickets for the thousands of athletes and officials to travel to Beijing. The travel is one of the requirements of of the IOC host city contract.
Air China held a similar sponsorship role for the 2008 Games.
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Written by Ed Hula and Aaron Bauer
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