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Swiss court throws out German request for help in CDU enquiry

A court in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden has turned down a request for legal assistance from German prosecutors investigating secret donations to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The German authorities now have 30 days to lodge an appeal.

This content was published on February 4, 2000 - 14:48

A court in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden has turned down a request for legal assistance from German prosecutors investigating secret donations to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The German authorities now have 30 days to lodge an appeal.

The court accepted arguments by those under investigation that details about their bank accounts should not be made available to the German prosecutors.

They are seeking information about a number of bank accounts in Switzerland, alleged to belong to people who received kickbacks from a German arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

German prosecutors made the request after their investigations in Germany drew a blank during a probe into the source of secret donations to the CDU.

The Swiss authorities have refused to name the account holders. But two of them are thought to be a former German state secretary in the defence ministry, Ludwig-Holger Pfahls, and a German arms dealer, Karlheinz Schreiber.

Switzerland has already provided some information about the two men to the German authorities.

Pfahls is wanted for corruption and tax evasion, while Schreiber is thought to have arranged the sale of 36 German tanks to Saudi Arabia in 1991. In that same year, Schreiber handed over one million marks in cash to a CDU official in Switzerland.

German investigators are hoping that clues to the identity of the donors may come from Switzerland.

From staff and wire reports

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