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S. African Judge Gives 15-Year Jail Sentence to Zuma Financial Advisor

Schabir Shaik, center, leaves court in Durban South Africa
A South African court has sentenced a financial adviser to South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma to 15 years in prison following his conviction on corruption charges.

The Durban High Court judge, Hilary Squires, handed down the jail term to Schabir Shaik Wednesday and slapped more than $200,000 in fines on his companies.

In announcing the sentence, the judge compared graft to a cancer that subverts democracy. He rejected pleas by defense lawyers to consider the businessman's record in fighting apartheid.

Shaik's attorneys say they will appeal.

He was convicted last week on charges he paid the deputy president some $200,000 to help advance his business interests. He also was convicted of arranging a bribe between Mr. Zuma and a French arms firm.

The case is seen as a blow to Mr. Zuma's political ambitions to become South Africa's next president.

Some information for this report provided by APF, AP and Reuters.