ARCHIV - 07.04.2021, Berlin: Olaf Scholz (SPD), Bundesminister der Finanzen, gibt eine Pressekonferenz. (zu dpa "Olaf Scholz vor «Cum-Ex»-Untersuchungsausschuss") Foto: Kay Nietfeld/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

no The process also occurs in the book “The Scholz Files. The Chancellor, the Money and the Power”. Oliver Hollenstein and I are working on that right now. It will be released in October. By the way, it was exactly 214,800 euros – in small bills, as the saying goes. Plus 2400 US dollars. The money was found in a raid on September 28, 2021 at 2:15 p.m.

First, Johannes Kahrs’ Hamburg apartment was searched. They found a rental agreement for a safe deposit box at the Hamburger Sparkasse around the corner. And then the investigators quickly obtained another search warrant from the magistrate. And then had to count a lot of money.

During his time as a member of the Bundestag, Johannes Kahrs tried to lobby the Federal Ministry of Finance and Bafin for Warburg-Bank. The bank was threatened with repayments of 90 million euros that it had stolen with criminal cum-ex deals. In addition, Kahrs and another SPD man paved the way for the co-owners of the private bank to Olaf Scholz, then mayor of Hamburg. And after the meetings with Scholz, Hamburg waived the reclaim of the millions it had stolen. After that, 45,500 euros went to the Hamburg SPD from companies close to Warburg. A large part of it to the Kahrs constituency, against which the public prosecutor is now investigating on suspicion of aiding and abetting tax evasion. Nobody knows where the 214,800 euros come from.

Nothing can be ruled out in this cum-ex scandal anymore. However, this revelation about the cash find also distracts from the core question: What roles did Olaf Scholz and the then Finance Senator and now Mayor Peter Tschentscher play in the affair?

The opposition actually wanted to unload Scholz again and only listen to it in September or October. The reason: There are new documents that the MPs wanted to evaluate for the Scholz survey at their leisure. Red-Green prevented this with their majority. A transparent maneuver to protect Scholz. But I take every bet that Scholz will have to come a third time. The new facts that we disclose in our book alone will raise enough new questions.

When Olaf Scholz says he can’t remember anything, the Chancellor is lying.

Yes! By the way, it’s not just about his meetings with the private bankers. But also about talks with Johannes Kahrs and another SPD politician on the Warburg issue, which Scholz cannot remember. It remains to be seen whether and how well these gentlemen remember the conversations. As is well known, one of the private bankers kept a diary about his discussions with Scholz on the tax issue.

As with the Kahrs story, many are pouncing on the tax officer because revealing chat messages with a colleague were found on her cell phone. The SPD in Hamburg is currently trying to build up this woman as a lone wolf. Another easily understandable manoeuvre. The tax officer is certainly part of the scandal. But she alone was not able to ensure that Hamburg at the time did not demand the return of the stolen money. With these million amounts, a tax officer does not have sole decision-making authority.

In total, it was about 170 million euros, which the bank stole from the state coffers between 2007 and 2011 with cum-ex deals, so to speak. A partial amount was already time-barred under tax law. At that time, 90 million from two tax years was still within reach. And when it was decided in 2016 not to reclaim it, a portion of this 90 million, namely 47 million, expired at the end of the year. And the minutes show that the officials at the time assumed that the money had expired with their decision, so gone.

That was the year after that. These 47 million were statute-barred in 2016. The same game the following year, it was about 43 million. However, the Federal Ministry of Finance got wind of this and then stepped in and issued instructions. That sounds so succinct, but an instruction to a state authority is a very sharp sword and very unusual. Occurred only twice in the last decade and a half.

As I said, the officials themselves assumed that the money was gone. At the time, no one could have guessed that four years later, a judge in Bonn would force the bank to pay back the bank – by the way, on a new legal basis. It will be very uncomfortable for Scholz because there will be more revelations and the committee of inquiry is only now really picking up speed.

The constellation in the Hamburg investigative committee is as follows: the opposition can name as many witnesses as they want. But the majority decides on the termination and the order, and that is red-green. That is why Scholz was the first witness at the end of April 2021. At that time, apart from press revelations, the committee members had hardly any material on which they could question Scholz.

In theory, you could have talked to Scholz about the sometimes bad weather in Hamburg. Until the general election, only those tax officials who were involved in this ominous decision were questioned – and of course they did not incriminate themselves or others.

And as soon as the election was over, witnesses came who presented a different picture, for example the officials from the Federal Ministry of Finance. Then the Cologne public prosecutor was there, who is conducting all the investigations – and that became very clear. And the SPD tried with all its might to end the committee afterwards. But now more and more is coming to light. That will overshadow Scholz’ chancellorship.