What is unusual – and for the SPD and Olaf Scholz so dangerous – about this Hamburg investigative committee is that the Cologne public prosecutor’s office is investigating at the same time. There are always new findings from the files, which are communicated to the committee members. This also applies to the discovery of 214,800 euros in cash in a safe deposit box belonging to the SPD politician Johannes Kahrs – he is considered a key political figure in the complex affair and is being investigated on suspicion of aiding and abetting tax evasion. So far he has been silent on the origin of the money, the possession itself is not illegal, and it was not secured either.
And now it has also become known through a report in the “Hamburger Abendblatt” that Olaf Scholz’s official emails and calendar entries have also been searched. In 2016, the key year of the Warburg Privatbank cum-ex fraud affair, he was the first mayor of the Hanseatic city.
“The Federal Chancellor first learned of the district court’s decision to search the official e-mail account through a press inquiry on Monday,” a government spokeswoman told the Tagesspiegel. It is an unusual event, but it also shows that Scholz is far from over the old affair about cum-ex-million fraud by the Hamburg Warburg Bank and initially no tax refunds from the Hamburg Senate and the tax authorities. Regarding the cash found at Kahrs, Scholz stated that he knew nothing about the fact that he had kept such sums of money in the locker.
Scholz has to answer questions from the sub-committee for the second time on August 19th. Scholz has been criticized primarily because he states that he cannot remember the content of his discussions with the Warburg bankers and Kahrs – but he denies any political influence on a tax refund that initially did not take place. In the end, a court in Bonn 2020 finally got the Warburg Bank to pay back 176.5 million euros.
The case: Scholz met the bank’s shareholders, Christian Olearius and Max Warburg, on September 7, 2016 and October 26, 2016, among other things, mediated by Kahrs, among others that had been illegally stolen through the tax ruses before that claim became statute-barred – as had tens of millions previously for previous tax years.
Scholz is presented with a letter to the financial authorities, in which the bankers describe the actions as lawful and emphasize that the bank’s existence is threatened if the bank is repaid.
On November 9, Scholz is said to have called Olearius and asked him to send the letter without further comments to Finance Senator Peter Tschentscher, who will succeed Scholz in the office of First Mayor after his move to Berlin. A few days later, the bank is informed that the 47 million will not be reclaimed.
Norbert Hackbusch is currently hardly able to keep up with the evaluation of the newly arriving files, he is the chairman of the left in the committee, and the committee met for the 35th time on Tuesday.
The CDU and the left wanted to suspend the committee meetings this week and the next, including the Scholz hearing, in order to be able to study the investigation files sent by the Cologne public prosecutor. However, the SPD and the Greens had rejected this.
In an interview with the Tagesspiegel, Hackbusch pointed out that even the auditors at Warburg had said that the money had to be repaid – and he refers to chat messages from the responsible tax officer that have now become known, which after the waiver of the reclaim at the end of 2016 by a ” wrote a devilish plan that worked.
Where does he see the greatest danger for today’s chancellor? “The connection between Kahrs and Scholz was always relatively close. Even if they are not necessarily on a wavy line,” Hackbusch emphasizes that previously unknown details could come out here.
Above all, it is about Scholz’s credibility. “It’s not believable not to be able to remember anything. This new information makes everything around him more exciting.”
He had only admitted to the previously known meetings in slices and could not remember such sensitive questions, did not fit Olaf Scholz. The warbung banker Olearius finally told Scholz that the bank would go bankrupt if the tax authorities and the Hamburg tax office demanded repayment. “Nobody can tell me that you don’t remember such appointments,” says Hackbusch.