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Key CDU scandal figure Schreiber likely to return to Germany

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Key CDU scandal figure Schreiber likely to return to Germany
Photo: DPA
13:19 CEST+02:00
The extradition of weapons lobbyist Karlheinz Schrieber, wanted in connection with the political donations scandal which disgraced former Chancellor Helmut Kohl came a step closer on Friday.

Schreiber lost this fourth appeal against a 2004 decision to extradite him in Ontario. He is a key figure in the donations scandal which dominated the German political scene in the 1990s, and tainted Kohl's reputation.

The state prosecution in Augsburg accuses him of bribery and tax evasion, saying he pocketed the equivalent of around €15 million from industrial firm Thyssen in relation to several arms deals. He is said to have used a row of foreign firms and bank accounts to deal the money out to politicians and industrialists.

The most famous accusation is that he handed over a million marks to the then Christian Democratic Union (CDU) treasurer, Walther Leisler Kiep. Publication of this allegation threw the CDU into a serious crisis, while Kohl refused to name all those who had made political donations.

Schreiber used his Canadian passport to flee there, and was arrested in 1999 in Toronto, since when his lawyers have been fighting to prevent his extradition.

Ironically enough, his involvement in another political finance scandal has prevented him from being taken to face German justice – he might be needed as a witness in the parliamentary investigation against former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Mulroney has admitted accepting $225,000 Canadian for helping smooth the way for Schreiber to build an arms factory – but says he got the money after leaving office. Schreiber says he paid $300,000 and it was during Mulroney's premiership. The committee has been sitting for two years but is due to wind up at the end of July, after which Schreiber could be extradited.

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