Germany’s ex-leader Helmut Kohl has stepped back into the spotlight, appearing as a witness in a high-profile trial.
The corruption case involves a junior minister in one of his governments – Ludwig-Holger Pfahls, who spent five years on the run. His trial for tax evasion and taking bribes began in June and centres on an arms deal. The former Chancellor told the court his administration could not have been bribed and defended his one-time colleague – saying Pfahls had had no influence on the deal in question. The ex-minister stands accused of accepting around two million euros to secure the transfer of 36 Fuchs armoured vehicles from the German military to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf crisis of 1991. After disappearing in 1999, he was arrested in France last year. Helmut Kohl’s testimony has made a difference. After it, charges against the former fugitive were reduced.