Choi 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 favours for her daughter.

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The Seoul Central District Court also fined Choi 18bn Korean won ($16.6m; £12m)

A South Korean court has sentenced Choi Soon-sil, an old friend of former president Park Geun-hye, to 20 years in jail for corruption, influence-peddling and abuse of power.

Choi was at the heart of a massive corruption scandal that brought down Ms Park, the country's first female president.

She had acted for years as an adviser to Ms Park, who has been impeached and is also on trial.

Ms Park has denied any wrongdoing.

The Seoul Central District Court also fined Choi 18bn Korean won ($16.6m; £12m).

Choi 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.

"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".

Choi 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 favours for her daughter.

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Park Geun-hye has been charged with bribery and abusing state power

Ms Park meanwhile has been accused of colliding with Choi. She is currently in custody, with a verdict expected later this year.