Jay Y. Lee is appealing a five year prison sentence ©Getty Images

Pyeongchang 2018 insist that recent problems at Samsung, including the five-year jail sentence awarded to its de facto head Jay Y. Lee, will have no impact on the finances and running of the Games.

The technology giants are a major local sponsor of next year’s event as well as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) TOP (The Olympic Programme) sponsorship scheme.

They are also a company of huge political and economic influence across the host nation South Korea.

However, this has been changed somewhat by events over recent months.

Lee has been the effective head of the conglomerate due to the illness suffered by his father, the Samsung Group chair and soon to retire IOC member Kun-Hee Lee.

He was found guilty last week of giving bribes to solicit support from ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her “advisor” Choi Soon-sil.

He was also convicted of embezzlement, perjury and hiding assets overseas, but has already announced plans to appeal all charges.

“Samsung, as you are well aware is a global sponsor of IOC while, at the same time, a local sponsor of Pyeongchang 2018,” said Organising Committee chair Lee Hee-beom following the IOC Coordination Commission inspection visit this week.

“Such a conflict of interest is usually not allowed, but the IOC granted that.

“Samsung became a tier one sponsor and this was established in 2015.

“There’s no link between this and the recent situation.

“Sponsorship from Samsung was established a long time ago.”

Lee Hee-beom insists problems at Samsung will not affect the Olympic preparations ©Getty Images
Lee Hee-beom insists problems at Samsung will not affect the Olympic preparations ©Getty Images

Jay Y. Lee has been the de facto head of Samsung in recent years due to illness suffered by his father.

This forms part of a scandal that has ripped apart South Korean political society in recent months.

Choi, who exerted "undue influence" on policy-making, despite having no official Government role, is also alleged to having influenced the tender process for Pyeongchang 2018 venues.

She has also been accused of having influence over the process by which Cho Yang-ho was replaced by Lee as Pyeongchang 2018 President in May 2016.

Samsung has played a less visible role in promoting next year’s Games than could have been expected.

Promotion of the Games has been a major challenge while organisers have also struggled to raise funds independently of those allocated by the Government.

Samsung, however, is one of three presenting partners of the Torch Relay.

They can therefore be expected to play an increasingly prominent role once it arrives in South Korea on November 1.