German arms lobbyist avoids extradition

7th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

7 June 2007, New York/Halifax (dpa) - A businessman and arms lobbyist trying to evade extradition to Germany over a finance scandal that rocked German politics insisted the Canadian government owed him 35 million dollars in damages for botching his extradition case. Karlheinz Schreiber made the comments during a hearing in a federal court in Halifax that will determine whether his suit against the government for damages can go forward, and if his extradition order can be suspended until the case plays out.

7 June 2007

New York/Halifax (dpa) - A businessman and arms lobbyist trying to evade extradition to Germany over a finance scandal that rocked German politics insisted the Canadian government owed him 35 million dollars in damages for botching his extradition case.

Karlheinz Schreiber made the comments during a hearing in a federal court in Halifax that will determine whether his suit against the government for damages can go forward, and if his extradition order can be suspended until the case plays out.

Schreiber gave details of the case to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in a telephone interview.

The move - one of a flurry of legal dodges Schreiber has pursued for more than a decade - could give Schreiber another delay before a dreaded extradition and confrontation with the German legal system.

The 72-year-old German believes that he would not receive a fair trial in Augsburg, Germany, where a year of preventive detention awaits him before a trial for his alleged wrongdoings in the late 1990s would begin.

The arms lobbyist was implicated in a party-financing scandal that engulfed former German chancellor Helmut Kohl and tainted his Christian Democratic Union when it was Germany's main opposition party in the late 1990s. Schreiber has denied wrongdoing.

Last month, Schreiber lost an appeal against a December extradition order. He plans to file a final appeal to Canada's Supreme Court - separate from the Halifax case - by July 9.

In the meantime, he is hoping for help from Wednesday's hearing before the federal court in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he was asking for the 11-year-old damages case against Canada's justice department to go forward and the extradition order to be suspended.

Schreiber filed the damages case in 1996, charging that Canadian justice officials had colluded with German justice officials behind his back to extradite him. That suit was filed in the busier federal court in Edmonton, and languished for years with no response from the government.

Now that the government has filed what he says was a 15,000-page response to his damage claims, Schreiber has turned to the less busy court in Halifax in the case because his time is running out on the extradition order.

The Supreme Court could decide as early as mid July if it will accept his appeal on the extradition order, which would extend his stay in Canada until that case is played out.

Schreiber fled Germany chased by tax evasion charges. In Augsburg, he faces a trial for bribery, conspiracy to fraud and tax evasion to the tune of 10 million euros.

A former German defence official and national spy chief, Ludwig- Holger Pfahls, testified last year in Germany that he got 2.5 million dollars from Schreiber to ease German government approval of a 1991 sale of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia.

Pfahls, a deputy defence minister at the time, put a stamp of approval on the 223-million-euro (278-million-dollar) deal, which had to clear strict German laws against arms exports to conflict zones.

Kohl and former foreign minister Klaus Kinkel testified that Pfahls did not influence the export decision. Pfahls was convicted of evading taxes on the 2.5 million dollars, but not of taking a bribe.

DPA

Subject: German news

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