South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in jail after she was found guilty of abuse of power and coercion.
The verdict was broadcast live and represents the culmination of a scandal which rocked the country, fuelling rage against political and business elites.
Park, who was also fined 18bn won (£12m, $17m), faced a string of corruption charges.
The former leader was not in court on Friday for the verdict.
She has boycotted her trial hearings and has previously accused the courts of being biased against her. She has also denied all wrongdoing and has said she will appeal her sentence.
Judge Kim Se-yoon said Park had shown “no sign of repentance” after causing “massive chaos” in the country.
“We cannot help but sternly hold her accountable,” the judge said.
The move by the authorities to allow Friday’s verdict to be broadcast live was unprecedented, but they cited extraordinary public interest in the case.
Park was found guilty of 16 out of 18 charges most of which related to bribery and coercion.
The court ruled that she had colluded with her close friend, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure conglomerates such as electronics giant Samsung and retail chain Lotte to give millions of dollars to foundations run by Choi.
She was also convicted of forcing companies to sign lucrative deals with firms owned by Choi and donate gifts to Choi and her daughter.
In addition, Park was found guilty of leaking confidential presidential documents to Choi.