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Ottawa blasts Schreiber's bids to avoid extradition

German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber testifies at the Oliphant Commission in Ottawa April 15, 2009. The commission is probing Schreiber's business dealings with former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Blair Gable/REUTERS/Blair Gable

Karlheinz Schreiber's latest attempt in a succession of "repeated and groundless" bids to avoid extradition to Germany threatens to render Canada's international crime-fighting obligations "entirely impotent," the federal government says in court documents.

The businessman has been fighting his extradition to Germany, where he faces charges of fraud, bribery, corruption and tax evasion, for a decade.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday before the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and Mr. Schreiber's lawyers are attempting to get a judicial review.

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Mr. Schreiber, represented by prominent defence lawyer Edward Greenspan, argues in court documents that a series of submissions to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson went ignored.

That amounts to a refusal to rescind or amend the extradition order, and therefore is a decision that should be subject to a judicial review, Mr. Greenspan said in the application.

"[It]amounts to conduct which is cavalier, egregious and an abuse of process that warrants condemnation by this court: the applicant should not have to go to court to force the minister to acknowledge let alone consider the submissions made to him," the application says.

"It is a clear indication that he has already rejected those submissions and has no intention of informing the applicant of this before removing him from Canada."

Lawyers for the Department of Justice maintain there is "absolutely no factual basis," for Mr. Schreiber's claims and there is no decision to be reviewed.

"The minister has repeatedly indicated that he is considering the April and May 2009 materials provided by the applicant and will provide a response," the government submissions say.

Such an application is in keeping with Mr. Schreiber's previous and frivolous attempts to quash his extradition, Department of Justice lawyers write in the court documents.

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Calling Mr. Schreiber's claims "repeated and groundless" and a manipulation of the extradition process, the government maintains his latest application should be dismissed.

"To conclude otherwise, that the Extradition Act entitles the applicant and others like him to indefinitely engage in legal acrobatics, is to render the extradition process meaningless and Canada's international obligations to fight global crimes entirely impotent," the government submission says.

Mr. Nicholson had agreed not to extradite Mr. Schreiber at least until the Oliphant inquiry ends.

The inquiry examined the financial dealings between Brian Mulroney and Mr. Schreiber, who hired former Conservative prime minister to promote the sale of German-designed armoured military vehicles after he left office in 1993.

The factual inquiry has ended, and Mr. Justice Jeffrey Oliphant has until Dec. 31 to deliver a report.

Mr. Schreiber testified for four days and was scheduled to appear for a fifth, until he was excused from further questioning because he's recovering from gall bladder surgery.

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At the inquiry lawyer Guy Pratte, representing the former prime minister, accused Mr. Schreiber of making misleading and erroneous statements in a campaign to force the creation of the inquiry.

The aim all along, Mr. Pratte asserted during a testy exchange in April, was to postpone Mr. Schreiber's "check-out time from Canada and his return to Germany to face criminal charges."

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