Schreiber's Canadian allegations trump German case: Dion


OTTAWA — Although the Germans have waited for nine years to get their hands on Karlheinz Schreiber, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion says the businessman's Canadian corruption allegations are more important.

He's calling again on the Conservative government to suspend the extradition order against Schreiber until he's had a chance to testify to both a House of Commons committee and a public inquiry.

“I understand our German friends have a lot of questions to ask him about very serious charges, but I think we need to first deal with Canadian issues,” Mr. Dion said Saturday in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“After we can deal with German issues.”

Mr. Dion warned that if Mr. Schreiber is sent to Germany, there's no guarantee that he'll be able to answer Canadian queries, even if he wanted to. The businessman has already said he won't co-operate with Canadian officials if he's kicked out of the country.

Mr. Schreiber faces bribery, fraud and tax-evasion charges in Germany and has been linked to a political scandal in that country.

The government in Berlin first asked for his extradition in 1999 as investigators looked into allegation a high-ranking official in former chancellor Helmut Kohl's government accepted 1 million marks from Schreiber in another business deal.

He claims to have handed over $300,000 to Brian Mulroney in a business transaction that was arranged just as the former prime minister was about to leave office in 1993.

Although he never denied taking the money, Mr. Mulroney has insisted the arrangement was made after he left office and was a private business matter.

A spokesman for the former prime minister said this week that the first of three $100,000 payments was given while Mulroney was still a Quebec MP.

The Conservative government has so far refused to postpone Mr. Schreiber's extradition, which could happen next Saturday. He is being held in a Toronto-area detention facility.

Mr. Dion said Prime Minister Stephen Harper has tried to make it look like there's been a public break with Mr. Mulroney, by ordering the inquiry and telling senior members of the government not to talk to the former prime minister.

However by not arranging for Mr. Schreiber to stay, Mr. Dion said, the government is quietly trying to sabotage the investigation.

“Mr. Harper may again be trying to protect Mr. Mulroney,” he said.

The Commons ethics committee says it will call Mr. Schreiber as a witness, but in a press release late Friday, the man at the centre of the political storm said the government has made no provision for bail and there has been no indication how he would get to Ottawa.

Although the committee can compel a witness to testify, it has no control over whether the individual gets bail.

In his statement, Mr. Schreiber suggested the Conservative government was in a hurry to bundle him out of the country.

“There is no rush,” he wrote. “I welcome the opportunity to speak before the public inquiry and the Commons ethics committee.”


Our commentary in the Globe and Maiil

  1. You (Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa - Home of family court flagrant abusers of judicial POWER., Canada) wrote: Brent Raby - Nice simple post. It's time for Mr. Harper to cease the diversion and get on with the Schreiber & Mulrony Show. Harper knew Schreiber had the dirt on Mulroney and the federal govt has been actively trying to get him out of Canada before he could rat on Mulroney. It's now too late. Mulroney is playing damage control and oh what damage control it is, its an admission of guilt, he robbed Canadians of their trust in the office of the Prime Minister, he brings his political party into illrepute and shows that it really doesn't matter how bad the crime is, if you have the right political connections like Mulroney you will still have lots of supporters which begs the question, just what was or is in their relationship with Canada's most corrupt former prime minister.