Choi Soon-sil, an old friend of South Korea’s ex-President Park Geun-hye, has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for corruption, influence-peddling and abuse of power.
She was at the heart of a massive corruption scandal that brought down Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president.
Choi Soon-sil had acted for years as an adviser to Park Geun-hye, who has been impeached and is also on trial.
Park Geun-hye has denied any wrongdoing.
The Seoul Central District Court also fined Choi Soon-sil 18 billion Korean won ($16.6 million).
Choi Soon-sil was accused of using her presidential connections to pressure conglomerates – including electronics giant Samsung and retail group Lotte – for millions of dollars in donations to two non-profit foundations she controlled.
She is already serving a three year jail term for a separate charge of corruption, after she was found guilty of using her position to solicit favors for her daughter.
Park Geun-hye meanwhile has been accused of colluding with Choi Soon-sil. She is currently in custody, with a verdict expected later this year.
The court has also found Shin Dong-bin, chairman of the Lotte Group, guilty of offering bribes to Choi Soon-sil, and jailed him for two years and six months.
President Park Geun-hye was officially ousted in March 2017, following parliament’s decision to impeach her. She was the country’s first democratically-elected president to be forced from office.
After losing her presidential immunity, Park Geun-hye was charged with bribery, abusing state power and leaking state secrets, and her trial began in May.