Canada delays Schreiber’s extradition to Germany

Canada has delayed the extradition of German-born arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, who is wanted in Germany in connection with the massive slush-fund scandal surrounding former chancellor Helmut Kohl.

In a letter to Schreiber’s lawyers obtained by public broadcaster CBC, Canada’s Justice Minister Rod Nicholson said he would allow Schreiber to testify at a probe of alleged kickbacks in Canada.

“I am satisfied that it would not be unjust or oppressive to Mr. Schreiber to delay his surrender for a period of time at his request, in order that he may testify before the Mulroney-Schreiber public inquiry. Accordingly … Mr. Schreiber will not be surrendered until he has testified before the inquiry,” Nicholson wrote in the March 3 correspondence.

A justice department spokesman refused to comment.

Schreiber is fighting extradition to Germany where he faces bribery, fraud and tax evasion charges for his alleged role in a massive campaign finance scandal involving former chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and commissions earned for negotiating arms sales.

Had Nicholson not stepped in, Schreiber could have been deported to Germany by the end of the week, if the Supreme Court denies his latest appeal. The high court was expected to announce its decision Thursday.

A public inquiry into Schreiber’s alleged illicit financial dealings with former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in January.

In December, Mulroney admitted to the House ethics committee that he had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in legal-sized envelopes from Schreiber at three hotel meetings in the 1990s, but added it was a “mistake,” not wrongdoing.

In an affidavit, Schreiber said Mulroney had arranged the money deal at the prime minister’s Harrington Lake summer residence two days before he left office in 1993, and later tried to cover it up.