Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ontario Appeal Court Denies Schreiber Bid to Delay Deportation

This afternoon, the Court of Appeal for Ontario rejected Karlheinz Schreiber's application to delay his deportation from Canada.

While the Conservative government has agreed to delay the Schreiber deportation for 15 days, the implications of such deportation on a pending public inquiry into Schreiber's business dealings with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney remain to be seen.

CBC News has the story:

The Ontario Court of Appeal on Thursday dismissed an application by businessman Karlheinz Schreiber to stay an extradition order to Germany, where he is wanted on charges of tax evasion, bribery and fraud.

But following the ruling, Crown lawyers said federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has promised to wait 15 days before extraditing the German-Canadian businessman, who triggered a public inquiry into corruption allegations against former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney.

...Opposition members had called for the justice minister to adjourn the extradition efforts and allow Schreiber to stay in Canada to participate in the inquiry.

"This minister has both the discretion and the responsibility to go into court, seek an adjournment [Thursday] and keep Mr. Schreiber in this country," New Democrat MP Joe Comartin said Wednesday.

City News provides futher context:

The already weird journey of the German-Canadian businessman took another turn Thursday, after the Ontario Court of Appeal rejected his latest bid to avoid deportation from this country.

Schreiber has been fighting extradition to his native Germany since 2004, where he faces allegations of tax evasion and other felonies. But a decision to deport him won't come without consequences. He's also the central figure in ongoing accusations against former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, charging that he paid the ex-Tory leader $300,000 in cash when he left office in an under-the-table business deal. Mulroney has vigourously denied all the accusations and demanded - and received - a request for an official inquiry to clear his name.

But can that probe go ahead if its main witness is no longer in the country? And will they be able to get him back here if he's sent home or will inquiry officials have to travel all the way to Germany at taxpayer expense to get his testimony?

No one's sure exactly what the fallout will be from this latest twist. It came after lawyers Brian and Eddie Greenspan arrived at Osgoode Hall Thursday to make their case. But the three judges rejected their motion to delay the extradition. They're now worried their client, who remains locked up at the Metro West Detention Centre, may be immediately deported. But Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has promised to wait 15 days before sending him packing.

The normally voluble Eddie Greenspan was a man of few words once the decision was announced. "In light of the court's decision today, we need time to consider our next steps, and I think that's all we've got to say until we've actually read their judgment, considered it and have decided what to do," he explains. He claims he's never surprised by any court decision but was hoping for better news and that his client has been informed of the ruling.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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