Cum-ex scandal: tax officials reject political influence

Cum-ex scandal: tax officials reject political influence

Didn’t know anything: An employee and a former employee of the Hamburg tax authorities testified on Friday in front of the committee of inquiry into the Cum-Ex tax scandal. Neither of them had any influence from politics on the decisions of the tax office in the case of the Warburg Bank.

“I have no knowledge that any influence, discussions or anything else have taken place,” said the first employee interviewed by the tax authorities. The now retired employee also said he did not know anything about it.

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Cum-ex scandal: that’s what it’s about

As a reminder: The Hamburg Warburg Bank is said to be involved in cum-ex deals. Banks, investors or stock traders can have taxes refunded twice that were only paid once. Hamburg allowed possible additional tax claims of 47 million euros to become statute-barred in 2016 because tax evasion could not be proven. Another 43 million euros was only requested in 2017 after the Federal Ministry of Finance intervened.

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Hamburg’s then mayor Olaf Scholz (SPD) met several times with Warburg co-owner Christian Olearius in 2016 and 2017. Investigations were already underway against Olearius on suspicion of serious tax evasion. In his questioning before the committee, Scholz rejected any suspicion of influence.

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In 2020, Warburg Bank finally paid 155 million euros in tax claims for the years 2007 to 2011. But this is “not to be understood as an admission of guilt”. Rather, the money house continues to take legal action against the tax assessments.

What did Finance Senator Tschentscher know?

At the time Hamburg’s current mayor, Peter Tschentscher (SPD), was the Senator for Finance. So there is also the question of what he possibly knew about the case or did about it. Tschentscher himself has already denied that politics could influence decisions by the tax office. “I assume that the finance senator has been informed, but I don’t know,” said one of the witnesses on Friday. The other witness just said he knew nothing about it.“I also read the media where a story was presented that Ms. P. had been turned around. That doesn’t correspond to my perception. Ms. P. came and said that the situation had changed and that it was more difficult, ”said the first interviewee.

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However, he described the fact that Ms. P. wrote the minutes of the meeting in which the decision was made herself as exceptional. Ms. P. had also denied any political influence in her questioning of witnesses at the beginning of August. The next witnesses will be interviewed on October 1st.

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