Schreiber loses appeal against extradition
February 1, 2007
OTTAWA — Karlheinz Schreiber has lost his bid to have the Supreme Court of Canada block his extradition to Germany.
The court rejected his leave to appeal Thursday. As is customary, it did not provide reasons.
Mr. Schreiber, a citizen of both Canada and Germany, is a lobbyist, consultant and deal-maker in the sale of helicopters, Airbus aircraft and armaments.
He was arrested on Aug. 31, 1999, and ordered extradited to Germany in 2004 where he is wanted on tax evasion, fraud and bribery charges. Germany alleges that Mr. Schreiber avoided income tax on $46-million in secret commissions he received for brokering sales of aircraft and arms.
He had been free on $1.3-million bail pending the Supreme Court decision. It was not immediately clear if he would be taken into custody or if he has any other avenues of appeal.
His notoriety in Canada took off amid allegations of illegal payments in connection with the 1988 purchase of 34 Airbus jetliners by then Crown-owned Air Canada. No charges were ever laid.
It was later learned that Mr. Schreiber paid former prime minister Brian Mulroney – now an adviser to Stephen Harper's Conservative government – $300,000 in a series of instalments beginning in 1993, shortly after he left office.
The money was said to be compensation for help promoting Mr. Schreiber's pasta business as well as arranging introductions and meetings with international executives.
But Mr. Schreiber told CBC-TV's newsmagazine The Fifth Estate that he gave Mr. Mulroney the money to help him ease back into private life.
Mr. Schreiber all but dismissed the notion that Mulroney had aided his business efforts, saying the former prime minister had simply sent him a brochure from U.S. agri-food giant Archer Daniels Midland, where Mulroney was a director.
Mr. Schreiber's lawyer, Eddie Greenspan, fought the extradition order on 12 major grounds, including arguing that the extradition treaty with Germany is unfair because it does not require Germany to extradite its citizens, or non-citizens, to Canada to face tax-evasion charges.
Under the terms of the agreement, Canada sends its citizens to Germany for tax charges.
The German fraud charges arise from a deal for the sale of 36 German Army tanks from German arms manufacturer Thyssen AG to Saudi Arabia. Germany alleges that Mr. Schreiber and others at Thyssen created a subsidiary commission contract that defrauded Saudi Arabia.
Germany further alleges in relation to the tank deal that Schreiber bribed Ludwig Holger Pfahls, then the German deputy minister of defence, to help secure the tank deal. And the German charges allege that Mr. Schreiber paid secret commissions in relation to the contract with Saudi Arabia.