(FILES) This file photo taken on Jan 16, 2017 shows Choi Soon-sil (C), the woman at the centre of the South Korean political scandal and long-time friend of President Park Geun-hye, arriving for hearing arguments for South Korean President Park Geun-hye's impeachment trial at the Constitutional Court in Seoul. Choi, the secret confidante of ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye, was convicted on Feb 13, 2018 and jailed for 20 years over the scandal that brought down the former head of state. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / KIM HONG-JI)

SEOUL: The secret confidante of ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye was convicted Tuesday and jailed for 20 years over the scandal that brought down the former head of state.

Choi Soon-sil was found guilty of abuse of power, bribery and meddling in state affairs by the Seoul Central District Court, and judge Kim Se-yoon said: "The accused is sentenced to 20 years in prison."

Choi took advantage of "long private ties" with Park to force companies to donate funds to foundations she controlled, the judge said.

She accepted a total of 14 billion won ($13 million) from telecommunications giant Samsung and retail conglomerate Lotte, he said, and "meddled in state affairs widely".

"The guilt of the accused is heavy," he added, and she had shown no repentance.

The chairman of the Lotte group, South Korea's fifth-biggest conglomerate, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, and former Park aide Ahn Jong-beom was jailed for six years. - AFP

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