Ex-arms lobbyist faces over nine years in prison for tax evasion | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 03.05.2010
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Germany

Ex-arms lobbyist faces over nine years in prison for tax evasion

A German-Canadian ex-arms lobbyist is facing over nine years in prison on charges of tax evasion. Karlheinz Schreiber is also implicated in the slush fund affair that rocked the Christian Democrats in the 1990s.

Karlheinz Schreiber

Schreiber's lawyer says the sentence is too long and the 76 year-old will die in prison.

German prosecutors in the southern city of Augsburg on Monday demanded that a former arms lobbyist be sentenced to over nine years in prison on charges of tax evasion.

Karlheinz Schreiber, who first made headlines for his role in the slush-fund scandal during then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl's administration, is now on trial for withholding more than 7.5 million euros ($9.9 million) in taxes during a five year period from 1988-1993.

He allegedly received the money as kickbacks for the sale of helicopters to Canada's coast guard, Airbus planes to Thailand and Canada and tanks to Saudi Arabia in the 1990s.

"The only things counting in his favour are that he does not have a criminal record and that he is 76 yeas old," chief prosecutor Marcus Paintinger said. Schreiber had not shown any remorse for his actions and continually failed to pay his outstanding tax bill, he added.

Helmut Kohl

Schreiber gave undeclared contributions to then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic party


Murky history

Schreiber, who holds both Canadian and German citizenship, was arrested in Canada in 1999 and sent to Germany in August after losing a 10-year battle against extradition.

Schreiber was a key figure in the donation scandal that rocked the Christian Democratic party in the 1990s, and is believed to have donated roughly half a million euros in cash to the party.

The verdict is likely to cast a shadow on the party, just four days before a key regional election that could cost Merkel's coalition its majority in the second house of parliament.

Tax evasion carries a maximum 10 year prison sentence in Germany. Schreiber has pleaded "not guilty" to the charges. A verdict is expected on Wednesday.

smh/dpa/Reuters
Editor: Rob Turner

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