Schreiber handed over to German authorities
Published Sunday, August 2, 2009 9:19PM EDT
Karlheinz Schreiber has been handed over to German authorities and is now en route to Germany, ending the embattled businessman's 10-year fight to avoid extradition.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson released a statement on the matter Sunday evening.
"On August 2, 2009, Mr. Schreiber was surrendered to Germany in accordance with the valid surrender order issued against him on October 31, 2004 by former Minister of Justice, Irwin Cotler," Nicholson said. "Over a 10-year period, Mr. Schreiber was given every reasonable opportunity to challenge his extradition. His surrender to Germany was in full accord with the law and consistent with the spirit and purpose of extradition."
Schreiber's decade-long fight to stay in Canada came to an end Sunday afternoon in a Toronto courtroom.
The embattled businessman was ordered to return to Germany after his lawyer, Edward Greenspan, spent the day unsuccessfully arguing Schreiber's case to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Schreiber was not present at the hearing.
He faces charges in Germany of fraud, bribery, corruption and tax evasion.
The 75-year-old, who has citizenship status in both Germany and Canada, surrendered himself into the custody of the Toronto West Detention Centre at around 5 p.m. He arrived by taxi and was accompanied by his wife.
Before heading inside, he told reporters gathered outside that he disagreed with the way his case was handled by the Canadian justice system.
"The whole approach is again to get my mouth shut and keep me out of the country," he said.
He also said that there is a chance he won't receive a fair trial in Germany because prosecutors there have all the evidence that was presented at the Oliphant inquiry into his business dealings with former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney.
"There is no law that obligated me to give them evidence against me," he said. "All this evidence has now started a huge search in Germany."
Greenspan argued in court Sunday that the government's timing in serving Schreiber with an arrest warrant during the long weekend was underhanded because it did not give his client a chance to properly appeal the court's ruling before he is forced to board a plane to Germany.
"It's unfair on its face, it's devious to its face," he said. "The moment he's on the plane, there's no bringing him back."
Nonetheless, Greenspan said he wouldn't stop fighting until Schreiber is on the airplane on his way overseas.
But Richard Kramer, a lawyer for the justice department, said Schreiber had been treated more than fairly by the system. He reminded the court that Schreiber had filed 11 submissions to the minister of justice, five applications for judicial review to Ontario's court of appeal and requested four times a leave to the Supreme Court.
Justice Barbara Conway alluded to his numerous appeals in her ruling, saying that Schreiber is now "at the end of that road."
Schreiber has fought extradition since August 1999. Most recently, his extradition was delayed so he could testify at the Oliphant inquiry. The public hearings ended last Tuesday.
The former arms dealer made 11 sets of submissions opposing his extradition over the years, according to the government.