Statements about crooked deals: Scholz does not remember his memories

In the summer of 2020, the chancellor, as finance minister, testified about illegal transactions by the Warburg Bank.

Statements about crooked deals: Scholz does not remember his memories

In the summer of 2020, the chancellor, as finance minister, testified about illegal transactions by the Warburg Bank. The protocol was secret. It is now before the deputies. The content is explosive because it questions Scholz's statements. The version of the SPD is different.

When the Wirecard scandal broke, Olaf Scholz, then Minister of Finance, declared himself the leader of the investigation into the billion-dollar scam: "There is only one course of action: go ahead, don't hide anything, be actively at the forefront of enlightenment and ensure that everyone Things will be clarified," he said, assuring "full transparency". The opposition and the Union later got the impression that the house he led was more of a blocker than a help. In addition, it became known that Jörg Kukies, still a close confidant of Scholz, was still considering saving the former DAX group in June 2020 after it had filed for bankruptcy and considerable doubts about the seriousness of the company had long since arisen.

At the same time, another economic scandal from his time as head of government in Hamburg caught up with the SPD politician: the Cum-Ex affair. Here, too, he promised openness and assistance in clarifying the case. At the beginning of July 2020, Scholz answered questions from the Finance Committee of the Bundestag. He asserted that everything must be done to disclose the complex structures behind which there was criminal energy.

While the chancellor at Wirecard bears political responsibility for the failure of banking supervision, at Cum-Ex he has two criminally relevant allegations. In the Scholz era in 2016, Hamburg had waived a tax payment of 47 million euros from illegal cum-ex transactions in favor of the Warburg-Bank and wanted to waive a similarly high amount a year later, which the Federal Ministry of Finance, then led by Wolfgang Schäuble, prevented. The opposition in Hamburg and in the Bundestag suspects that Scholz has campaigned for the company - and is lying to the public.

Scholz denies point one. He claims not to have interfered in the proceedings, for which there is in fact no relevant evidence to the contrary. The chancellor himself fueled the accusations of publicly telling untruths. Scholz corrected himself several times and suddenly admitted what he couldn't remember before. In 2019, the Hamburg left faction asked him if he had met Christian Olearius, the head of the Warburg Bank. The answer was short and sweet: "No."

Months later, Olearius' diary entries became public, which documented a meeting between the banker and Scholz in his Hamburg mayor's room - and that on November 10, 2017 of all days, i.e. right at the time the decision was made about another tax gift. Scholz initially did not answer any questions from the media, but later admitted that and, after further investigation by journalists, other meetings with the owner of the bank.

At his first appearance before the investigative committee of the Hamburg Parliament in spring 2021, Scholz reported on "concrete meetings", but stated that he had "no memory" of them. When he appeared before the committee again in August this year, now as chancellor, the social democrat praised himself for his "stubborn fight" against tax evasion. Neither he nor anyone else from politics would have influenced the process. Otherwise he relied on memory gaps. Scholz stated more than 50 times that he no longer remembered anything about certain events related to the scandal.

Matthias Hauer, CDU chairman of the Bundestag Finance Committee, called this "completely unrealistic. It is totally absurd that Scholz has no memory of the talks about the existence of the bank." Hauer insisted on the publication of the minutes with the statements of the SPD politician from the beginning of July 2020 in the finance committee, which until recently had been classified as secret and has now been sent to members of parliament. The document is available from It shows that Scholz did have a memory of the conversation with Olearius. At least then.

According to the protocol, the Social Democrat listed various measures that politicians, especially he, had done to prevent cum-ex machinations in the future. What he said - also on the Warburg case - is knowledgeable; one notices that he had delved deeply into the matter, which, from the point of view of Hauer and the former Left MP Fabio De Masi, makes the gaps in memory appear all the more implausible.

Scholz said at the time (his words are only recorded in indirect speech) that he had not prepared for the meeting that "many things had been discussed", he "only listened to Christian Olearius' view of things" and his own attitude have not disclosed. What the bank owner told him corresponds to media reports and “his knowledge of the issue”. After the conversation, he "saw no reason" to get involved in the process. This didn't happen either.

Hauer considers his accusation of lying against Scholz to be substantiated: "So Scholz remembers the content of the conversation in great detail, including a lot before and after it. And then he doesn't even want to remember the meeting." The SPD interprets it differently. Your financial policy spokesman in the Bundestag, Michael Schrodi, sees no contradiction in the Chancellor's various statements. According to the minutes, Scholz begins his remarks with a reference to "notes by Christian Olearius", which means: "He reproduces the press reports on his meetings and only confirms that he is also conducting talks. Nothing more." Schrodi demanded a "correction and apology" from Hauer and De Masi at Scholz.

De Masi reacted in his typical ironic way on Twitter. There he wrote at Christmas: "I'll call the public prosecutor, but I'm afraid there is no connection to this number in Hamburg!" Two days later, the prosecution announced that it would not investigate Scholz for unsworn false testimony. De Masi also commented on this with sarcasm. "You never stop learning legally. The Hamburg public prosecutor's office says: Scholz did not lie to the Hamburg investigative committee about his memory gap. He may have only faked the interim memory in the Bundestag and we (the deputies - the editor) should have asked about it preventively". . In other words, the parliamentarians themselves are to blame for the fact that the truth does not come to light.