Germany given legal aid on Schreiber case

The government has confirmed a report that it will provide Germany with legal assistance in its prosecution of arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber for bribery and fraud.

This content was published on March 31, 2008 - 20:27

On Monday, a spokesman for the justice ministry said Germany would be allowed to use bank documents it secured from Switzerland in 1999 in the case against Schreiber.

The lobbyist and consultant is accused of corruption in connection with the sale of German army tanks to Saudi Arabia. German authorities allege that Schreiber - who worked as a dealmaker in the sale of helicopters, Airbus aircraft and armaments - avoided paying income tax on millions of dollars in commissions.

The case has also affected Canada, where the German-Canadian is awaiting extradition to Germany while a public inquiry evaluates his dealings with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Mulroney acknowledges having accepted more than $200,000 from Schreiber but only after he left politics in 1993. He says he accepted the money in exchange for promoting a project involving a light armoured vehicle factory on behalf of Schreiber's client, Thyssen.

Last year, Switzerland blocked the use of bank documents in the German investigation on suspicion that Germany was only interested in uncovering tax evasion, the justice ministry said.

Tax evasion is an administrative offense in Switzerland, which does not provide assistance to other governments investigating such offenses.

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