Frank hears reports of sporadic, yeti-like sightings in Ottawa of Karlheinz Schreiber, the international man of mystery best known for favouring the Rt. Hon. Byron Muldoon with $300,000 in envelopes of cash in sleazy hotel room assignations.
These fleeting visions prove hard to confirm and even harder to credit. But still…
After years of artful dodging, Karlheinz walked out of the German justice system a free man in March, his debt to society paid for tax evasion. Fraud, bribery and forgery charges never even made it to trial.
Do his old skulking grounds beckon? Karlheinz is, by all accounts, still chilling in Bavaria, but his many admirers are keeping a close eye on his longtime Canadian address, 7 Bittern Court in Rockcliffe.
He picked up the condo unit in 1989 for $375,000.
In March 2004, as his legal tormenters began to close in, Karlheinz slapped a charge on the property in favour of David Nathanson, Q.C. (DLA Piper), the top-flight tax legalist, who has of late been assisting another disreputable foreigner, Tubby Black, with his $31 million Canadian and U.S. arrears. (Like Tubby, Schreiber also relied on the late, great, over-rated Eddie Greenspan to fight his extradition to Germany, with similarly disappointing results).
Nathanson’s fees presumably paid, the encumbrance was lifted that May and scrubbed from the record. The next month, Karlheinz transferred the condo into his wife Barbara‘s name for $1, much to the dismay of former business associates trying to recover their investments from the fast-moving entrepreneur. Mrs. S. remains on the title today.
7 Bittern, now assessed at $714,000, was where Karlheinz’s keister made its national TV debut in 2007, as Mounties escorted him, handcuffed and beltless, home to retrieve documents for his appearance before the Commons Ethics Committee. Herr Schreiber inadvertently dropped trou’ for the cameras, exposing himself almost as baldly as he had Muldoon.
The former PM had after all, first denied under oath any dealings with the Airbus fixer, and pocketed a $2.1 million defamation settlement from taxpayers for any suggestion to the contrary.
When it turned out he, er, had taken the schmiergelder, he insisted the loot — income he declared and paid taxes on — was for help with Schreiber’s pasta business, a claim laughingly rubbished by Himself in a subsequent Fifth Estate interview.
“Well, I learned to my great surprise that he worked with me on spaghetti,” Schreiber cackled, noting that the sum of the ex-PM’s ravioli-wrangling was sending him a brochure from Archer-Daniels-Midland.
“Maybe it’s a pretty expensive brochure,” he har-de-hared.
It is perhaps this sly wit Schreiber-watchers miss most of all, that and the ever-elusive promise he might finally reveal exactly what Muldoon did (or promised to do) for his three hundred large.
And that’s only the beginning. Of the $10 million or so in artificial sweetener Karlheinz is alleged to have brought into Canada for various expenses, close to half went to fees for folks like the late Frank Moores, who lied shamelessly about lobbying for Airbus, and to his cronies, like Gary Ouellet and the Doucet brothers — Fred & Gerry.
Let us not forget that Trudeau the Elder cabmin and Schreiber lawyer Marc Lalonde also received $300,000 from the same funds, tucked away in a Swiss sub-account called, “Marc.” Lalonde and Elmer MacKay posted Shreiber’s bail in ’99.
Then there was the $300,000 for Muldoon, and the pile that went to former Air Canada board member Gayle Christie — who explained it was for a party fundraiser.
What happened to the rest, perhaps as much as $5 million, held in KH’s fascinating “Canadian funds” account? If only the walls (and wall safe) of 7 Bittern could speak.