Karlheinz Schreiber release order put on hold

Karlheinz Schreiber, the German-Canadian businessman who played a central role in a llegations of a scandal that swept up former prime minister Brian Mulroney, was ordered freed from a German jail after suffering a heart attack.

German-Canadian remains behind bars

Karlheinz Schreiber is seen here in a German courtroom in a 2010 file photo. The former businessman was ordered released from jail Tuesday after he suffered a heart attack. (Uwe Lein, dapd/Canadian Press)

A German court ordered Karlheinz Schreiber released from jail Tuesday after he suffered a heart attack but the order was quickly appealed and the former arms dealer remains in a Munich prison.

Another judge is to rule on his case next week, the CBC's Harvey Cashore reports. 

Schreiber was at the centre of a widespread bribery and influence-peddling scandal in Germany. His secretive financial relationship with former prime minister Brian Mulroney also became the key element in a public inquiry in Canada.

Mulroney, who admitted taking $225,000 in cash from Schreiber, said he was paid for work he did abroad after stepping down as prime minister.

But Schreiber maintained the payments were made in 1993 and 1994 to lobby the Canadian government for a light-armoured vehicle plant.

Following a 10-year legal battle, Schreiber was extradited from Canada to Germany in 2009 to face tax evasion, fraud and bribery charges related to income he allegedly received from the sale of German-made armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia in 1991. 

The extradition process was so lengthy, in part, because the federal government allowed him to stay in Canada to testify at the inquiry about his dealings with Mulroney. 

After his return to Germany, Schreiber was sentenced in 2010 to eight years in prison.