Karlheinz Schreiber has lost another bid to stave off extradition to Germany to face fraud, bribery and tax-evasion charges.
Ontario's Court of Appeal ruled Thursday against Mr. Schreiber, though it's expected he will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. Schreiber's lawyers had been concerned their client could be removed from the country immediately, and had asked the Crown for an assurance that he won't be extradited without at least two weeks' notice.
Crown lawyers later advised the court that federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, who has the final say over extradition orders, had agreed not to do anything until Dec. 1.
Mr. Schreiber's lawyers - brothers Edward and Brian Greenspan - argued that recent developments in Europe have tainted the evidence that is being used to extradite Mr. Schreiber.
Those developments include a refusal by Switzerland to allow key banking documents to be used at Mr. Schreiber's trial. The Swiss claim the records were obtained by German investigators under false pretences.
Mr. Schreiber's lawyers argued that the disagreement between Switzerland and Germany calls into question the evidence used in 2004 when Mr. Justice David Watt, the first of many Canadian judges to hear Mr. Schreiber's case, ordered the German-Canadian deal-maker to be sent to Germany.
Mr. Greenspan appeared unhappy with the ruling. "I guess politics has taken over," he said in court. He wouldn't comment further on the decision outside court, suggesting only that he was taking it in stride.
"We need to consider our next steps," he said. Asked if he was surprised by the decision, Mr. Greenspan replied: "I'm a lawyer, we don't get shocked by decisions of courts."
Mr. Schreiber, who is being held in a Toronto detention centre, was not in court. But his wife, Barbel Schreiber, was present for Thursday's hearing, as was a representative of the German government.
Opposition MPs have called on the government to halt its extradition efforts until after a public inquiry into Mr. Schreiber's relationship with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Reacting to today's decision, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said Mr. Nicholson must "act now" and use his discretionary powers to stop the deportation.
"Otherwise it will be a scandal within a scandal," said Mr. Dion, speaking to reporters in Victoria, where he attended a roundtable on homelessness, poverty and harm reduction. His comments were echoed in Question Period by Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe.
Mr. Nicholson has refused to comment on the extradition, telling the Commons on Wednesday: "The matter is before the Court of Appeal. There will be a decision handed down [Thursday]and I think we should wait for that decision."
In an interview last week, Edward Greenspan said that if he was unsuccessful Thursday, he had been instructed by Mr. Schreiber to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, a move that would likely prevent anyone from whisking his client off to his native country in the near future.
The German prosecutor seeking Mr. Schreiber's extradition told The Globe and Mail he will allow Canadian investigators access to the controversial businessman if he is ordered extradited to Germany.
Germany alleges Mr. Schreiber evaded income tax on roughly $46-million by hiding commissions he earned for negotiating the sale of helicopters, aircraft and armaments.
The fraud charges also stem from a deal for the sale of 36 German army tanks from German arms manufacturer Thyssen AG to Saudi Arabia. Germany alleges Mr. Schreiber and confederates at Thyssen created a subsidiary commission contract that defrauded Saudi Arabia. Germany further alleges in relation to the tank deal that Mr. Schreiber bribed Germany's then-defence minister, Ludwig Holger Pfahls, to help secure the tank deal. Germany also alleged Mr. Schreiber paid secret commissions in relation to the Saudi Arabia contract.
Reinhard Nemetz, a prosecutor in Augsburg, southern Germany, said he remains focused on eventually getting the 73-year-old into a German courtroom, suggesting to officials in Canada preparing for a public inquiry that they would not face a hurdle if the courts order Mr. Schreiber expelled immediately.
"It is my duty to bring him to trial in Germany," Mr. Nemetz said. "I can't say if the recent statements by Schreiber will delay his extradition. I am not an expert on Canadian law. But the sooner he comes back to Germany, the better. ... He seems to be in deep water now.
"We wouldn't have any problem with co-operating with the Canadian authorities. Of course, Schreiber could be interrogated also while imprisoned in Germany. The delaying tactics Schreiber has been using since 1999 are remarkable. It's remarkable that it obviously still works today."
On Oct. 4, Mr. Schreiber was about 15 minutes away from being hauled off in handcuffs to a Germany-bound airplane. The RCMP confirmed that officers were at the Toronto West Detention Centre, where Mr. Schreiber is being held, waiting to find out whether the Supreme Court would hear his second appeal to the top court.
At about 9:45 a.m. that day, the court announced that it had dismissed Mr. Schreiber's application. Usually, that announcement would have prompted the Mounties to take him from his jail cell to an airplane bound for Germany, which has been waiting to prosecute him for eight years.
However, his legal team managed, yet again, to stave off his extradition with an application for an emergency court injunction.
With files by Isabella Kempf, Greg McArthur, Daniel Leblanc and Canadian Press