In a verdict that was broadcast live, Ms Geun-hye was also fined 18 billion Korean won for her corrupt practices. The money is about 17 million in U.S. dollars.
The former president was not in court on Friday for the verdict. She was first arrested in March 2017 and had refused to attend trial since October, citing health crisis.
She maintained she did no wrong and accused authorities of victimising her for political reasons.
At the heart of her trial was allegations that she colluded with her close friend, Choi Soon-sil, to shakedown business executives in South Korea in return for political favours. The collaborator had been sentenced to prison since February last year.
The former president was brought down following weeks of protests across the country in March 2017. She was subsequently arrested and placed on trial.
Prosecutors got her convicted on 18 counts of bribery and coercion.
Her supporters are still taking to the streets in Seoul, the country’s capital, demanding her release, saying her trial was political.
SOURCE: PREMIUM TIMES