Sunday, August 02, 2009

Bye, bye for you?

Karlheinz Schreiber to be deported
Juliet O’Neill, Canwest News Service
Published: Sunday, August 02, 2009
Karlheinz Schreiber in April 2009. (Blair Bable/Reuters)
OTTAWA -- A Toronto judge has upheld a deportation order for Karlheinz Schreiber, meaning the controversial German-Canadian businessman could be on a plane and headed back to Germany by Sunday night to face multiple criminal charges.
Schreiber's lawyer, Edward Greenspan, failed to convince the Ontario Court of Appeal Sunday afternoon to give Schreiber a last-ditch hearing on Tuesday to block his deportation order. As of Sunday afternoon Schreiber was said to be on his way to the Toronto detention centre pending his removal to Germany, ending his decade-long fight to overturn his extradition.
Greenspan suggested Schreiber's deportation would follow closely on his arrival in custody.
"I expect that they're going to act relatively quickly, although with this judgment I have sure they have overnight to consider what they want to do,"he said.
"I would think that anything to ensure that Mr. Schreiber is out of Canada and out of the hair of this government they may well consider money well spent to get him on a private plane so that we can't bring any action to keep him here."
Schreiber said RCMP delivered a letter to his Ottawa home at 5:10 p.m. Friday from Justice Minister Rob Nicholson which directed him to turn himself in to a Toronto detention centre within 48 hours under bail conditions associated with his extradition.
Schreiber, 75, is a German-Canadian businessman who has been wanted in Germany since 1999 on charges of tax evasion, fraud, bribery and breach of trust. He is the central figure in an ethics probe of former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
In the letter, Nicholson said he was amending the November 21, 2004 order for Schreiber to surrender for extradition by removing the German charge of "aiding and abetting a criminal breach of trust."
Nicholson had agreed not to extradite Schreiber before the Oliphant inquiry into large cash payments he made to Mulroney ended the final phase of public hearings last Tuesday.
Schreiber told Canwest News Service that the manner and timing of the Nicholson letter, while he is still challenging the extradition order in the courts, is "a total abuse of power and an injustice."
He said Nicholson should await a pending ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Fischbacher case that involves the minister's powers of extradition.
Nicholson wrote in the letter that he cannot be certain of the impact of the Supreme Court ruling and indicated he is not waiting for the ruling.
He was responding to an October 17, 2008 letter from Schreiber contending that it would be "a breach of the principles of fundamental justice" to not take the ruling into account.
"Accordingly, in the particular circumstances of this case, including the fact that Mr. Schreiber's extradition case has been outstanding for almost ten years, it is in the interest of finality to amend the surrender order in the manner described," the minister wrote.
Nicholson's spokesman did not return calls to explain whether the letter meant Schreiber had to turn himself in.
In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper Sunday, Schreiber said he is a pawn of political parties in Germany where elections are scheduled to take place soon. Schreiber was a central figure in a political financing scandal in 1999 that led to the resignation of former German chancellor Helmut Kohl as the party's honorary chairman.
"It seems obvious that the timing of the service seemed to be designed to prevent me from having access to the courts on a long weekend during which I apparently have 48 hours to surrender myself to the Toronto Detention Center West after receipt of the Minister's letter, as specified in my bail conditions," he wrote to Harper.
Schreiber has fought his extradition since he was first ordered by then Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler to surrender to German authorities on October 31, 2004.
He has been out on $1.31 million bail since December, 2007, when a parliamentary committee needed him to testify in an ethics probe of his dealings with Mulroney. Schreiber does not want to risk forfeiting the bail money by failing to turn up at the jail if that's what is expected.
Mulroney has told the public inquiry he took $225,000 cash to lobby internationally on behalf of a Schreiber-promoted plan to build light-armoured vehicles in Canada. Schreiber says he paid Mulroney $300,000 to lobby domestically on behalf of the German-sponsored project.
The Nicholson letter was delivered three days after the inquiry hearings ended. On the eve of the letter, word went out that members of Harper's government were being allowed to attend a tribute to Mulroney in September.
Harper had forbidden his government members from associating with Mulroney while the ethics probe about the cash was underway. The inquiry report is due December 31st.
Mulroney told the federal inquiry there was nothing "sinister" about accepting cash-stuffed envelopes from Karlheinz Schreiber at three hotels in the 16 months after he stepped down as prime minister in the summer of 1993.
Schreiber is a German-Canadian. He has held Canadian citizenship for nearly three decades. A Canadian ruling on his extradition described him as a man who "operated at the highest levels of international finance and government as a lobbyist, consultant and deal-maker in relation to the sale of helicopters, Airbus aircraft and armaments."


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