France to extradite jailed former German minister

19th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

BERLIN, Nov 19 (AFP) - Former German junior defence minister Holger Pfahls has decided not to oppose his extradition from France to Germany to face corruption charges over an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, his lawyer said Friday.

BERLIN, Nov 19 (AFP) - Former German junior defence minister Holger Pfahls has decided not to oppose his extradition from France to Germany to face corruption charges over an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, his lawyer said Friday.

Pfahls, who is being held in a French prison, is suspected of taking nearly EUR 2 million (USD 2.4 million) in bribes for the sale of 36 armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia in 1991, and failing to declare the earnings.

He decided not to oppose his extradition to his homeland based "on his untenable and unacceptable jail conditions in Paris's Sante prison and his declining health," his lawyer, Volker Hoffman, said.

Hoffman said Phals, who served as state secretary for defense from 1989 to 1992 under chancellor Helmut Kohl, would probably be extradited "in coming weeks".

Pfahls, 61, was arrested in Paris in July after five years on the run.

He had refused to be handed over and still had a chance technically of challenging the extradition ruling against him, which was handed down by a French court on Wednesday.

Public prosecutors in the southern German city of Augsburg believe Pfahls pocketed the funds during the 1991 Gulf War for helping German industrial giant Thyssen obtain the armoured vehicle contract.

They hoped his trial would begin as soon as January 2005. The proceedings could shed new light on campaign financing scandals from the Kohl era.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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