South Korean Court Jails Ex-President Friend

Choi Soon-sil, a friend of former South Korean president, Park Guen-hye, has been sentenced to 20 year in jail for corruption, influence -peddling and abuse of power. 

The Seoul Central District court passed the sentence on Tuesday, on Choi, who is at the centre of a massive corruption scandal that shook both the business and political class, ultimately
leading to the impeachment of the country's first female president, Park Guen-hye.

Choi, who acted as an adviser to Ms. Park for years was also fined of 18 billion Korean won ($16.6m, £12m) by the court.

Choi Soon-sil, who is currently serving a three year jail term for using her position to solicit favours for her daughter, was convicted receiving bribes from business conglomerate  including Samsung and the Lotte Group, by pressuring them to pay millions of dollars in donations to two non-profit foundations under her control.

"The guilt of the accused is heavy," the judge said, adding that she had capitalised on her long private ties with Ms Park to solicit bribes and had "meddled in state affairs widely".

The court also sentenced the chairman of Lotte, Shin Dong-bin, to two years and six months in prison on Tuesday and ordered his immediate arrest after been found guilty of offering bribes to Choi. The chairman present in court, was taken into custody.

Ms Park Guen-hye, accused of colluding with her former adviser, is separately on trial for charges of bribery, abuse of state power, leaking state secrets and coercion of which she has denied any wrongdoing. 

Verdict on Ms Park is expected later this year.

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