Former German official sentenced to two years in prison

A German court on Friday convicted a former senior official of accepting illegal payments and evading taxes in connection with arms deals while serving in the government of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

The state court in Augsburg sentenced Holger Pfahls, who was a deputy defense minister, to two years and three months in prison after a trial linked to the slush-fund scandal that disgraced Kohl and his Christian Democratic Union party.

Pfahls, who spent five years on the run from German justice, has admitted accepting 3.8 million marks (Ђ1.94 million; US$2.42 million at today's rates) from a German-Canadian businessman in connection with several arms contracts.

Pfahls insisted, however, that he did nothing in return, and prosecutors dropped the main corruption charge against him after Kohl testified as a witness that Pfahls had no influence on a decision to deliver armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia in 1991.

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