Karlheinz Schreiber lawsuit thrown out in Edmonton court
Former arms-industry lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber waits for the start of his trial at the state court in Augsburg, southern Germany, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. (AP /dpa, Karl-Josef Hildenbrand)
Published Friday, August 16, 2019 2:30PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, August 19, 2019 2:51PM MDT
A long-standing lawsuit from Karlheinz Schreiber, the German national linked to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the Airbus Affair of the mid-1990s, has been dismissed in an Edmonton court.
Schreiber sued the Attorney General of Canada in October of 1997 alleging denigration of his name and reputation stemming from news reports in the Financial Post and public statements made by Mulroney.
In an Alberta Court of Queen's Bench ruling released today, Master Lucille Birkett found that Schreiber had waited too long to resume his legal action and dismissed the lawsuit.
"I find that more than three years have passed without a significant advance in this action and that I must dismiss the action," Birkett wrote.
The case was heard on Feb. 4 and dated Aug. 15 in Edmonton.
In 1995, RCMP accused Schreiber and another man of sending kickbacks to then Prime Minister Mulroney on the sale of Airbus planes to Air Canada which was a Crown Corporation at the time.
Schreiber was extradited to Germany in August of 2009 after testifying before the Ethics Committee Senate hearings. In 2013, he became involved in a corruption scandal linked to former Germany chancellor Helmut Kohl, was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.
In June of 2017, Schreiber sought to resume his legal action. Ottawa sought dismissal, arguing that more than eight years had passed since the last meaningful action on the lawsuit which had last been heard in March of 2009.
Birkett cited the Alberta Rules of Court which allow a maximum of three years to pass without action.
"If three or more years have passed without a significant advance in an action, the Court, on application, must dismiss the action," Birkett wrote.
Schreiber tried to argue that the government had purposely stalled, attempting to run out the proverbial clock on the lawsuit, but Birkett found that allegation was unfounded.
"Schreiber bears the ultimate responsibility for advancing this action."
Schreiber, a Canadian-German dual national, was arrested in Canada in 1999 and extradited to Germany where he was convicted in 2010 but won a retrial on appeal.
Clarification: A prior version of this story referred to Lucille Birkett as a judge when her proper title is Master. In Alberta, masters in chambers have more limited power to hear matters compared to judges, and only serve in the Court of Queen's Bench.