Former spy chief walks free despite conviction
1 September 2005, AUGSBURG - A former German spy chief convicted in connection with bribe-taking walked free Thursday following a court ruling that he had served his maximum sentence during pre-trial detention.
1 September 2005
AUGSBURG - A former German spy chief convicted in connection with bribe-taking walked free Thursday following a court ruling that he had served his maximum sentence during pre-trial detention.
Ludwig-Holger Pfahls, 62, immediately announced after his release that he was dropping a planned appeal of his corruption conviction which had capped a high-profile trial during which former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl testified.
At the trial, Pfahls admitted failing to pay tax when he accepted a bribe of around EUR 2 million linked to a 1991 sale of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Bribery charges were dropped when former German leaders said the sale had needed no inducement.
Pfahls headed Germany's BND intelligence agency from 1985 to 1987 and was a German deputy defence minister from 1987 to 1992.
From 1992, he worked for DaimlerChrysler as a senior executive in Brussels and in Singapore. While in Asia he vanished and was on the run for five years, apparently under various false identities.
Germany put the man who had knowledge of some of its most sensitive secrets on the international most-wanted criminal list and he was finally tracked down and arrested last summer in Paris.
The charges centred on a sale of 36 Fuchs armoured reconnaissance vehicles (ARVs) to Saudi Arabia at a time of fears of chemical attack by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Crew in the wheeled vehicles can safely collect samples of nuclear, biological and chemical poisons.
Subject: German news