Banks: Committee of inquiry into the "Cum-Ex" scandal hears witnesses

With new knowledge of the investigation results of the Cologne public prosecutor's office in the "Cum-Ex" scandal, the parliamentary investigative committee of the Hamburg Parliament continues its work.

Banks: Committee of inquiry into the "Cum-Ex" scandal hears witnesses

With new knowledge of the investigation results of the Cologne public prosecutor's office in the "Cum-Ex" scandal, the parliamentary investigative committee of the Hamburg Parliament continues its work. At the 35th meeting on Tuesday, four former employees of the tax authority are to be heard as witnesses, including the former head of the tax administration and the department head previously responsible for the Warburg Bank involved in the scandal.

The CDU and the left wanted to suspend the committee meetings this week and the next in order to be able to study the investigation files sent by the Cologne public prosecutor's office. However, the SPD and the Greens had rejected this.

Dubious find of cash

The files have only been available to the committee members since the end of last week. According to the representatives of the CDU and the left, they show, among other things, that a search in a locker belonging to the former Hamburg SPD member of the Bundestag Johannes Kahrs - against the suspicion in connection with the "Cum-Ex" transactions of the Warburg Bank of the beneficiary is determined - more than 200,000 euros in cash were found. The files also raised the suspicion that the tax authority was missing files related to the case and that e-mails had been deleted.

As against Kahrs, the former SPD Interior Senator Alfons Pawelczyk and a tax officer responsible for the Warburg Bank at the time are also being investigated for favoritism. According to the information, the files of the public prosecutor's office also contain a Whatsapp message in which this officer tells a colleague about a "diabolical plan" that has worked. This message was sent a few hours after the decision of the tax authorities, contrary to original plans, to let a tax reclaim of 47 million euros against the Warburg Bank statute of limitations.

Scholz should testify again

The committee is to clarify possible influence of leading SPD politicians on the tax treatment of the bank. The background is meetings between bank shareholders Christian Olearius and Max Warburg in 2016 and 2017 with the then mayor Olaf Scholz, which Kahrs and Pawelczyk are said to have engineered. At the time, Olearius was already being investigated on suspicion of serious tax evasion in connection with “Cum-Ex” transactions. Shortly after the first meeting, there was a change of heart in the financial administration with regard to tax reclaim.

On Friday next week, today's Chancellor Scholz is to testify again before the committee. He has so far denied any political influence in the case, but has cited gaps in his memory of his meetings with Olearius.

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