Fromthe Toronto Star
Jul 29, 2009 04:30 AM
RICHARD J. BRENNAN
OTTAWA–A relaxed Karlheinz Schreiber says he’s optimistic he will die an old man in Canada before he’s ever extradited to Germany to face a number of charges, including corruption.
The 75-year-old appears to have made a full recovery from recent gall bladder surgery that sidelined him during the public inquiry into his business dealings with former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
Schreiber told the Star last week he will use every legal means at his disposal to avoid being extradited, insisting that if he were tried in Canada on the charges he faces in Germany, the whole case against him would be thrown out.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson had agreed not to extradite Schreiber before the conclusion of the inquiry, headed by Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, which held its final hearings yesterday. Oliphant has until Dec. 31 to deliver his report.
The main focus of the inquiry has been the so-called Bear Head project in which the German firm Thyssen AG was to set up a plant in Canada to build and export light-armoured vehicles.
Schreiber says he paid Mulroney $300,000 to lobby in 1993-94 for the project. He claims the deal was struck just before Mulroney stepped down as prime minister, although the money didn’t change hands until later.
Mulroney has admitted taking $225,000 from Schreiber but says he violated no federal ethics rules. He says his lobbying was confined to foreign leaders whose countries might have provided export markets for Thyssen.
For 10 years, Schreiber has successfully fought extradition to Germany, where he’s wanted on charges of tax evasion, fraud and bribery. He was arrested under the Extradition Act in August 1999.
Lawyers for Schreiber, who became a Canadian citizen in 1982, have filed an action in Ontario Court of Appeal raising new legal arguments against extradition. If the appeal court agrees to deal with the matter, it could mean a further delays in deciding his fate.
With files from the Canadian Press