Germany can use Swiss bank documents in case against arms dealer Schreiber
Swiss authorities will help Germany in its prosecution of arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber for bribery and fraud, says official.31 March 2008
BERN - Swiss authorities will help Germany in its prosecution of arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber for bribery and fraud, a Swiss official said on Monday.
Germany will be allowed to use bank documents it had secured from Switzerland in 1999 in the case against Schreiber, who is accused of corruption in connection with the sale of German army tanks to Saudi Arabia, the official said.
The case also has affected Canada, where Schreiber is awaiting extradition while a public inquiry evaluates his dealings with former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
Mulroney acknowledges having accepted C$225,000 (CHF 218,166) from Schreiber, a German-Canadian, but only after leaving politics in 1993. He says he accepted the money in exchange for promoting a project involving a light armoured vehicle factory on behalf of Schreiber's client, Thyssen.
German authorities allege that Schreiber - who worked as a lobbyist, consultant and dealmaker in the sale of helicopters, Airbus aircraft and armaments - avoided paying income tax on millions of dollars in commissions.
Last year, Switzerland blocked the use of bank documents in the German investigation on suspicion that Germany was only interested in uncovering tax evasion, said Folco Galli, a spokesman for the Swiss Ministry of Justice.
Tax evasion is an administrative offense in Switzerland, which does not provide assistance to other governments investigating such offenses. It does provide help in cases of money laundering, bribery and other felonies.
Switzerland no longer believes that Germany's case is focused only on tax evasion, Galli said, confirming a report that appeared in the weekly NZZ am Sonntag.
[Copyright AP 2008]