Walther Leisler Kiep
From Germany. Walther Kiep was the treasurer of the Christlich Demokratische Union (CDU) from 1970 to 1991. Chairman of the CDU, Helmut Kohl, was chancellor of West Germany from 1982 to 1990 and chancellor of the whole of Germany from 1990 to 1998. Accusations had been made since 1995, but in late 1999, it was discovered that the CDU had indeed accepted illegal donations in the 1990s. On 5 November 1999, the Augsburg prosecutor's office arrested former CDU treasurer Walter Leisler Kiep on charges of tax evasion in connection with a large donation to the CDU by weapons dealer Karlheinz Schreiber in 1991. In the following investigations it was determined that the CDU possessed numerous shadow accounts and in a December television interview Kohl admitted to have illegally accepted several million DM, though he did not name the donors. It was also revealed that Kiep had accepted a donation in excess of 1.3 million marks ($500,000 +) from weapons dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, who acted as a Thyssen intermediary to reward CDU officials for their cooperation in illegal tank sales to Saudi-Arabia. In the parking lot of a Swiss supermarket close to the German border on 26 August 1991, Schreiber handed over a suitcase stuffed with cash - in thousand mark bank notes - to the then-CDU treasurer Walther Leisler Kiep and Kohl's confidante Horst Weyrauch. Even today, however, much is still unknown about the extent of this affair, because many documents were destroyed at the end of Kohl's term as chancellor. In 1992, Kiep represented the German firm Thyssen and the French firm Elf Aquitaine in discussions about the privatisation and restructuring of the Leuna oil refinery and the sale of the Minol chain of gas stations. Thyssen and Elf were granted permission to buy these pieces of real-estate for 5 billion marks. The German goverment would pay a large chunk of the costs associated with the exploitation and clean up of the site. Supposedly this deal was only brokered after 75 million of bribes had been paid. Many of the persons involved in the above scandals were former members of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND - the West-German intelligence service). These include arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber, his contact Werner Ströhlein, another contact of Schreiber, Holger Pfahls (received $3,8 million of bribes from Thyssen and used to be a friend of Le Cercle member Franz Joseph Strauss), Dieter Holzer (arranged the Leuna-deal and said to have taken care of a $50 million bribe). Dieter Holzer and Holger Pfahls are acquintances of Max Strauss, oldest son of the hopelessly corrupt Le Cercle member Franz Joseph Strauss. Strauss, Sr. has also been accused of taking a $500,000 bribe from the Thyssens. In 1995, Kiep held a speech at Dartmouth's annual Walter Picard Lecture titled 'Sharing Responsibility in the Shaping of a New World Order'. At the time he was Kohl's Special Envoy to the U.S. Congress and the chairman of Atlantik-Brucke (Atlantic-Bridge). Atlantik-Brucke was established by Eric M. Warburg in 1952 to strengthen the ties between Germany and the United States. In later times, Canada was also included. Biennial meetings are organized alternating between Germany and the United States. The meatings are off limit to the public and bring together some of the most important scholars, politicians, bankers, and media executives. Kiep is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. Kiep is a also a friend of Gerhard Schröder, chancellor of Germany since 1998 and spoke to the The Empire Club of Canada in 2004.