South Korean court reduces jail sentence of former president's confidante to 18 years

The Seoul High Court in South Korea on Friday sentenced Choi Soon-sil, a longtime friend of jailed former president Park Geun-hye, to 18 years in prison in a retrial of her corruption case.

Earlier in 2018, the 64-year-old was sentenced to 20 years in prison, a fine of 20 billion won (16.9 million U.S. dollars) and a forfeit of 6.3 billion won (5.3 million U.S. dollars). 

The Court ruled Choi guilty on two counts. First, Choi was found guilty for exploiting her ties with former President Park, forcing 50 business conglomerates she controlled to pay a total of 77.4 billion won (65.4 million U.S. dollars). Second, Choi was convicted on charges of meddling in various state affairs while not holding any official position in the Park government.