German court orders release of former spy chief

30th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

30 August 2005, AUGSBURG, GERMANY - A German court ordered Tuesday the release of a former spy chief who spent five years in Asia on the run from corruption charges and was finally jailed this month for 27 months. The court in the southern city of Augsburg said Ludwig-Holger Pfahls, 62, would receive bail on Thursday while his appeal against the sentence was heard. Judges noted that he had already served half the sentence in pre-trial custody. Bail terms included a ban on foreign travel and weekly reportin

30 August 2005

AUGSBURG, GERMANY - A German court ordered Tuesday the release of a former spy chief who spent five years in Asia on the run from corruption charges and was finally jailed this month for 27 months.

The court in the southern city of Augsburg said Ludwig-Holger Pfahls, 62, would receive bail on Thursday while his appeal against the sentence was heard. Judges noted that he had already served half the sentence in pre-trial custody.

Bail terms included a ban on foreign travel and weekly reporting to police.

At trial, Pfahls had admitted failing to pay tax when he accepted a bribe of some 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.

DPA

Subject: German news

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