“Completely surprising”: What did the General Counsel of the Warburg Bank know?
Why did the Hamburg tax office lapse additional tax claims in the double-digit millions against the Warburg-Bank? The parliamentary committee of inquiry into the cum-ex scandal is supposed to clarify whether there was any influence from politics. The bank’s general counsel, Christoph Greinen, was asked about this on Friday. Warburg co-owner Christian Olearius announced shortly beforehand that he no longer wanted to testify.
“The search measure came as a complete surprise to me at the time,” said the general counsel, head of the legal department, Christoph Greinen. According to his information, nobody in the bank had any knowledge of cum-ex deals. In the years in which the business is said to have taken place, he was “either not working for Warburg or not involved with the processes”.
Do not miss: Cum-ex scandal: tax officials reject political influence.
Cum-ex scandal: Was there any influence of Hamburg politics?
As a reminder: The Warburg Bank was involved in so-called cum-ex transactions, in which taxes are “reimbursed” by the state that were never paid. The investigation committee is supposed to clarify the allegation of possible influence by leading SPD politicians (above all the then mayor Olaf Scholz and the then finance senator Peter Tschentscher). The background to this are meetings between Scholz and Warburg co-owner Christian Olearius in 2016 and 2017.
Hamburger Warburg-Bank: Christian Olearius does not want to testify
Investigations were already underway against Olearius on suspicion of serious tax evasion. Hamburg later allowed possible additional tax claims of 47 million euros to become statute-barred. Another demand for 43 million euros was only called after an intervention by the Federal Ministry of Finance. In the meantime, the Warburg Bank has paid all tax claims, but this is not an admission of guilt, as it emphasized.
About three weeks ago, Christian Olearius initially announced that he would testify before the committee of inquiry. So far, he and Max Warburg had only been represented by lawyers. On Friday, the committee chairman Matthias Petersen (SPD) announced that Olearius would not testify after all. His lawyer has not yet commented publicly on the reasons.
Hamburg: Warburg’s General Counsel has gaps in memory
“We are a fairly manageable team there,” said the general counsel of the bank. There is a daily exchange with the management. Greinen did not speak to Olearius about political influence on the repayment of taxes.
Cum-ex scandal in Hamburg: Olaf Scholz was forgetful
Olearius is said to have only reported to Greinen about an informative meeting with the then mayor Olaf Scholz (SPD).He called the presumption that politics had an influence on the tax authorities “unfounded horror tales”. After the editorial deadline, the former head of the Hamburg tax office for large companies should also testify.