Court finds former German minister guilty of corruption

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The Independent Online

The state court in Augsburg sentenced Holger Pfahls, who was a deputy defence minister, to two years and three months in prison after a trial linked to the slush-fund scandal that disgraced Kohl and his Christian Democratic Union party.

Pfahls, who spent five years on the run from German justice, has admitted accepting £1.3 million from a German-Canadian businessman in connection with several arms contracts.

Pfahls insisted, however, that he did nothing in return, and prosecutors dropped the main corruption charge against him after Kohl testified as a witness that Pfahls had no influence on a decision to deliver armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia in 1991.

Investigations into the businessman, Karlheinz Schreiber, in the mid-1990s triggered a scandal that deepened with Kohl's admission that he had personally accepted off-the-books - and thus illegal - donations from supporters he has refused to name.

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