Former Zuma aide loses South Africa court appeal

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JOHANNESBURG, Oct 2 (Reuters) Schabir Shaik, former financial adviser to controversial South African politician Jacob Zuma, today lost his final appeal against fraud and corruption charges and a 15-year prison sentence.

The Constitutional Court said it would not be in the interests of justice to grant an appeal, a decision that analysts say could clear the way for presidential hopeful Zuma to be recharged in connection with the case.

''It does show we were always on the right track in our view of corruption,'' said state prosecutor Billy Downer.

The moves could affect the leadership race for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which will be decided at a party conference in December.

Zuma, the ANC deputy president, and South African President Thabo Mbeki are expected to be the main contenders.

REUTERS ARB AS1441

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