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Jail sentence renewed for German ex-arms lobbyist

A German appeals court has ruled that an aging former arms lobbyist should get a decreased jail term for tax evasion. Karlheinz Schreiber, a Canadian-German dual national remains free, however, on grounds of ill-health.

Once also implicated in a donations scandal during the governance of conservative Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the former arms lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber had his jail sentence for tax evasion revised on Thursday by an appeals court in the southern German city of Augsburg.

Judges reduced to 6.5 years an eight-year jail term imposed on Schreiber (pictured above) in 2010 by another Augsburg court for evading tax during an arms deal.

Germany's top BGH criminal court had ordered the Augsburg court to review the sentence imposed for tax evasion when kickbacks allegedly flowed for arms sales, including helicopters for Canada's coast guard and tanks for Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday, the court ruled that another charge of bribery against Schreiber, allegedly linked to former German defense official Ludwig Holger Pfahls, was no longer applicable under judicial time-lapse rules.

Initial wrangle in Canada

Schreiber, now 79, was arrested in Canada in 1999 at the request of German authorities and, after a long legal wrangle, he was extradited in 2009.

A heart attack in May last year led to Schreiber's release from jail. He was confined to house arrest in the Bavarian town of Kaufering, west of Munich.

In 1999, Walter Leisler Kiep, the former treasurer of Germany's CDU Christian Democratic party disclosed that in 1991 - during the Kohl government era - that he had received from Schreiber a large donation worth 510,000 euros ($685,000).

ipj/mkg (AP, dpa, AFP)