Kim, who was on the run for six years, was found guilty of charges including embezzlement and accounting fraud.
The 69-year-old also had 21 trillion won (£12 billion) seized and was fined 10 million won.
The group collapsed in 1999 under debts of more than $80bn and Kim fled the country, only returning in 2005.
The court said a ‘severe sentence was unavoidable’ after Kim was found guilty of ordering his executives to inflate the group's assets so that the company could get bank loans.
He also funnelled billions of dollars overseas.