On May 5, Karlheinz Schreiber was sentenced to eight years in prison for evading income tax on millions of euros. Quite apart from his history in Canada, Schreiber is the key figure in one of the longest and most spectacular corruption scandals in German postwar history.
An editorial on May 6 in the Munich paper Süddeutsche Zeitung examined why Schreiber came to symbolize the excrescences of the era of former Bavarian premier Franz Josef Strauss and former chancellor Helmut Kohl for the German judiciary. He owes this questionable reputation to his tendency to see himself as above the law, as the string-puller in the puppet theatre of politics, with pathetic civil servants dangling from his fingers.
Schreiber corrupted German political culture, the editorial points out, and did much to spread the idea that politics and business are corrupt. The damage this has caused is far worse than the taxes he withheld. Unfortunately no criminal court can hold him accountable for that.