MUNICH – A German court on Tuesday ordered Karlheinz Schreiber kept in custody after his extradition from Canada, calling the businessman who is linked to a financing scandal surrounding former Chancellor Helmut Kohl a flight risk.
The Augsburg state court decided at a closed-door hearing that the 75-year-old former arms-industry lobbyist should be held pending his trial, court spokesman Karl-Heinz Haeusler said.
Schreiber arrived in Germany on Monday after losing a 10-year fight to avoid extradition from Canada.
The dual Canadian and German citizen faces charges of tax evasion, bribery and of being an accessory to breach of trust and fraud. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
Prosecutor Reinhard Nemetz said Schreiber, through his lawyer, disputed the accusations against him at Tuesday’s hearing. The charges stem from money that allegedly flowed in due to an early 1990s delivery of German armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia.
The court now has to decide on a trial date. It was not immediately clear when that decision would come.
Schreiber allegedly gave a cash donation in 1991 to the former treasurer of Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union, Walther Leisler Kiep. The scandal deepened with Kohl’s 1999 admission that he had personally accepted off-the-books – and therefore illegal – donations from supporters.
However, prosecutors dropped a criminal investigation against Kohl, closing the case without charging him after he agreed to pay a substantial fine.