French arms company Thales, accused of bribing former president Jacob Zuma for protection from a potentially damaging arms deal investigation, has attacked the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to pursue a “weak” racketeering case against it — for what it contends are “ulterior” strategic reasons.

Thales is relying on the state’s own prosecution memos to make the case that the NPA elected to prosecute it with racketeering, a charge typically used regarding organised crime, to secure certain “benefits” for itself and not because there is evidence to back the charge up. It says that the state itself described “the racketeering provisions” of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) as “weapons that suit the present case ideally”.

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