Turnaround in the Cum-Ex process: Former Warburg banker confesses

Turnaround in the Cum-Ex process: Former Warburg banker confesses

The former managing director of Warburg Invest, a subsidiary of the Hamburg Warburg Bank, made a surprising confession on Wednesday in the third cum-ex trial before the Bonn district court. All of the accused Warburg bankers had previously denied any guilt. What does the statement mean for the Hamburg investigative committee about the Cum-Ex affair?

Bankers, consultants and stock traders are said to have stolen more than 100 million euros in the case with the help of cum-ex deals. According to media reports, the 63-year-old accused had unpacked after the presiding judge Roland Zickler had made it clear to him on the previous day of the hearing that he should finally tell the truth.

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Judge in Cum-Ex trial: “Don’t tell us anything that’s wrong!”

“Don’t tell us anything that’s wrong! Tell us how it was! What are we supposed to think? That’s not plausible,” the judge was quoted as saying by the media present. After that he is said to have stopped the questioning.

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In the case of cum-ex trades, the relevant actors can use stock trading to obtain a double tax refund. Overall, the German state has been robbed of at least ten billion euros in taxes by this method.

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Warburg-Banker admits to having looked the other way

The FAZ quoted the 63-year-old defendant as saying that he had repeatedly “dressed up” the processes and events of the time in order to justify his actions, which was wrong. He consistently looked the other way and also signed false confirmations that were urgently needed for the tax refunds and would have contributed to the concealment of the crimes.

A judgment from last year could also have caused the fund manager’s confession on Wednesday. The bank’s 72-year-old general manager, who denied all guilt, was sentenced to five years and six months in prison. The verdict is not yet legally binding.

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The reason was fear for his career

The former managing director of Warburg Invest gave worries about his career as the reason for his behavior. “Based on my experience with the management structure of the Warburg Group, I was afraid that a refusal on my part would have ended my career,” he is quoted as saying by tagesschau.de.The public prosecutor’s office in Cologne is investigating in this matter.

What does the confession mean for the Hamburg investigative committee?

In Hamburg, a parliamentary investigative committee is trying to clarify the question of whether leading Hamburg SPD politicians such as the then mayor Olaf Scholz (SPD) influenced the tax treatment of the Warburg Bank by the tax authorities. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) testified last year from the Hamburg committee of inquiry on Cum-Ex (archive image).

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In 2016, the city allowed possible additional tax claims of 47 million euros to become statute-barred because tax evasion could not be proven. Scholz has repeatedly denied allegations of influence.

Chairman: “Confession changes discussion about Warburg”

“The confession in Bonn changes the discussion about Warburg. A system of silence is breaking up,” says Left Chairman Norbert Hackbusch to MOPO. “This will have a strong impact on Messrs. Olearius and Warburg.”

In addition, further questions would arise for the parliamentary committee of inquiry: “How strongly were parts of the tax authorities involved in such a cartel of silence? The separation of the bank’s fund and cum-ex transactions must also be reassessed,” said Hackbusch. The next meeting of the committee will take place on January 21.