Extradition a ways off: Schreiber

Karlheinz Schreiber hasn’t packed a suitcase for Germany now that public hearings on his financial dealings with former prime minister Brian Mulroney have drawn to a close.

Karlheinz Schreiber

OTTAWA — Karlheinz Schreiber hasn’t packed a suitcase for Germany now that public hearings on his financial dealings with former prime minister Brian Mulroney have drawn to a close.

The federal government allowed Schreiber to stay in Canada long enough to give evidence at the inquiry, which held its final hearing Tuesday.

But the 75-year-old German-Canadian businessman said he isn’t expecting a quick extradition to Germany, where he’s wanted on charges of fraud, bribery, corruption and tax evasion.

Asked if he’d packed his bags ahead of the inquiry’s last day, Schreiber replied: “Oh, no.”

“We have all kinds of legal issues still with the minister open,” he said later.

“And we have the last decision from the courts. So we have to wait what the directions are and then we go from there.”

He was referring to an action his lawyers filed in Ontario Court of Appeal raising new legal arguments against extradition.

If the appeal court agrees to deal with the matter it could mean a further delay.

Schreiber was arrested under the Extradition Act in August 1999 and has been vigorously fighting to stay in Canada through what Justice Department lawyers called “legal acrobatics.”

Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, who is heading the inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair, urged Justice Minister Rob Nicholson last month to stave any removal order until the factual part of the hearings ended in late June.

Oliphant has until Dec. 31 to deliver his report.

The main focus of Oliphant’s work has been the so-called Bear Head project in which the German firm Thyssen AG was to set up a plant in Canada to build and export light-armoured vehicles.

Mulroney has admitted taking $225,000 in cash from Schreiber but says he broke no laws or ethical guidelines. He says he merely tried to line up support from political leaders in Russia, China and France for a proposed UN purchase of the vehicles for peacekeeping work.

Schreiber says the payments totalled $300,000, not the $225,000 Mulroney later declared for tax purposes.

He also maintains the former prime minister was supposed to lobby Canadian officials, not foreign leaders.

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