tricky terrain for South Korea’s mega-conglomerates

Jay Y. Lee, co-vice chairman of Samsung Electronics speaks to members of the media as he leaves the Seoul Detention Center in Uiwang, South Korea, on Feb. 5, 2018.

Jean Chung | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jay Y. Lee, co-vice chairman of Samsung Electronics speaks to members of the media as he leaves the Seoul Detention Center in Uiwang, South Korea, on Feb. 5, 2018.

For chaebols then, of which’s likely a case of being caught between a rock as well as a hard place: The companies have to deal with the fallout by the recent scandal, as well as follow through with the promises they had made inside lead up to the Olympics.

The political scandal last year meant of which some chaebols were “not [in] a great mood” when of which came to promoting the Olympics, said Sung-bae Roger Park, an associate professor at Hanyang University’s department of sports industry.

Even if they weren’t willing to participate inside games, chaebols were still “kind of forced” to participate inside event taking place on home soil, Park told CNBC.

An official on the Pyeongchang organizing committee told the Associated Press of which corporations “showed some reluctance” when of which came to providing sponsorship — although they ultimately played along.

Despite those claims, several chaebols contacted by CNBC indicated they didn’t encounter any such ambivalence when of which came to sponsoring the games.

A spokeswoman at Lotte Corporation said of which the company was “very pleased” to be a part of the sporting event.

“As the president of the Korea Ski Association, [Lotte] Chairman Shin Dong-bin was always interested inside Winter Olympics,” the spokeswoman said, adding of which Shin’s recent prison sentence for bribery might not affect the company’s support for the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Samsung, meanwhile, did not address how the most recent charges against Lee Kun-hee affected its sponsorship effort, although said in a statement of which of which was “committed to sponsoring those around the globe who are defying barriers.”

Even though North Korea’s participation inside games hogged the spotlight inside lead-up to the event, the suspension of Jay Y. Lee’s a few-year prison term for bribery has raised questions more recently over chaebol reform in South Korea.

“The verdict reminds Koreans of the necessities for fundamental chaebol reform therefore may provide momentum for drive for the reform,” said Park Sangin, a professor focusing on corporate governance at Seoul National University.

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