The secret confidante of ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye was convicted today and jailed for 20 years for her key role in the scandal that brought down the former head of state.
Choi Soon-sil, who became close to Park through her father, a shadowy religious figure, was vilified at the massive nationwide protests that rocked Asias fourth-largest economy and culminated in Parks impeachment last year.
The Seoul Central District Court found her guilty of abuse of power, bribery and meddling in state affairs.
"The guilt of the accused is heavy," he said, adding that she had shown no repentance.
Choi, who wore a dark blue coat and a badge bearing her prison number, showed little reaction as the sentence was passed.
The verdict is a potential pointer to the decision in Parks separate trial, as 15 of the 18 charges Choi faced mirror counts on the ex-presidents own indictment.
He was arrested in court, having been out on bail during the trial.
Choi pleaded not guilty, claiming she never pursued any personal benefits but attempted to help Parks work, lashing out at the prosecution for "framing" her.
Her defence lawyer Lee Kyung-jae previously said.Choi fell victim to a political plot intended to topple the Park government, asserting there was little evidence she profited from the alleged corruption.
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