The confidante of South Korea’s ousted president has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for her role in a corruption scandal that brought down the country’s leader in 2017.
Seoul’s District Court sentenced Choi Soon-sil on Tuesday on 18 charges including abuse of power, coercion, fraud and bribe, and ordered her to pay 18 billion won ($16.6 million).
In June last year, Choi was sentenced to three years in jail for using her ties to impeached President Park Geun-hye to “solicit academic favors” for her daughter from a South Korean university.
Park is also on trial on charges of corruption, coercion and leaking confidential information, which she has denied.
The trials of the country’s ex president and her close associate have gripped South Korea and roiled the country’s political and business elite. Also on Tuesday, billionaire businessman Shin Dong-bin, chairman of conglomerate Lotte, was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail on related bribery charges.
Park was arrested in March last year shortly after she was ousted as President by the country’s Constitutional Court, which upheld a decision by the country’s parliament to impeach her.
Her removal from office followed months of public outcry over a wave of corruption allegations.
She was accused of being unduly influenced by Choi. The court that upheld her impeachment agreed with accusations that Park had abused her authority in helping Choi raise donations from companies for foundations she had set up.