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Germany

German Arms Dealer Appeals Extradition From Canada

Arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, who faces bribery and tax evasion charges in Germany, has appealed to Canada's top court to quash an extradition order backed by lower courts.

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Schreiber fled Germany in 1999

Schreiber has fought Germany's extradition request since he was first arrested in Canada in 1999.

He faces fraud, bribery and tax evasion charges for his alleged role in a campaign finance scandal involving former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union party and commissions earned for negotiating arms sales.

A provincial appeals court on March 1 rejected his plea to quash a lower court ruling ordering the extradition.

His lawyer, Edward Greenspan, told AFP news service he has appealed the decision to Canada's top court. Schreiber, who was taken into custody last week, was granted bail Wednesday to await a final decision.

The Supreme Court now has eight months to decide if it will hear the case, Greenspan said.

If it refuses, Schreiber will have exhausted all possible options and will be extradited to Germany. If it decides to hear his appeal, Schreiber's fate will be known a year later.

Bribes to politicians in Germany , Canada

Holger Pfahls freigelassen

Pfahls during his trial

German investigators also questioned Schreiber in connection with the trial of Ludwig-Holger Pfahls, who served as junior defense minister from 1987 to 1992. Pfahls testified in court last year that he had taken payments from Schreiber totaling about $1.8 million (1.5 million euros).

He also admitted taking about 511,000 euros from Schreiber for shepherding the sale of 36 armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War.

Pfahls was sentenced to 27 months in prison last August, but was released in September.

In Canada, federal police investigated Schreiber and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for alleged kickbacks in connection with the sale of 34 Airbus jets in 1988 to then-state-owned carrier Air Canada for 1.8 billion Canadian dollars ($1.57 billion), but eventually abandoned the case.

Last month, Schreiber admitted to broadcaster CBC for the first time that he had given 300,000 Canadian dollars to Mulroney, who faced financial troubles after leaving office.

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