News Bilder des Tages Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz waehred der Sommerpressekonferenz in der Bundespressekonferenz in Berlin am 11. August 2022. Sommerpressekonferenz des Bundeskanzlers *** Chancellor Olaf Scholz waehred the summer press conference at the Federal Press Conference in Berlin on August 11, 2022 Summer press conference of the Federal Chancellor

The Union is tough on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in the cum-ex affair about tax fraud with stock transactions. “All the indications are that the chancellor is more stuck in the cum-ex swamp than previously assumed,” said the chairman of the Union faction in the Bundestag’s finance committee, Matthias Hauer, to the Tagesspiegel. Scholz will “have to comment in detail on the targeted deletions and the missing calendar entries”. Cologne prosecutors assume that there were targeted deletions in Scholz’s appointment calendar from his time as mayor of Hamburg, as became known at the weekend. They are likely to be connected to the Hamburg bank Warburg, which wanted to free itself from repayments to the tax office and asked Scholz for help. In fact, Hamburg allowed the tax liability to expire.

If Scholz “had met criminals several times personally” during his time in Hamburg and in the end even had to intervene the ministry, then it was “completely unrealistic” that he no longer remembered all of that, said Hauer – an allusion to Christian Olearius, until 2019 Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the traditional Hamburg private bank Warburg.

Scholz met with him several times, a close associate of Olearius was sentenced to more than five years in prison a year ago for serious tax fraud. The Cologne public prosecutor’s office is also investigating Olearius for the same allegation.

The Federal Ministry of Finance intervened in 2017 – Scholz was not yet the head of the house himself, but the mayor of Hamburg – and forced Hamburg not to let the tax liability of the House of Warburg count as statute-barred a second time. At that time it was about 43 million euros, a year earlier the Hanseatic city had waived 47 million euros. However, they were later saved for the state treasury.

In cum-ex transactions, banks shuffle shares of other companies around the key date for the payment of dividends to shareholders in such a way that it is concealed from the tax authorities who owned the shares and when. For a long time, they managed to only pay capital gains tax once, but to apply to the tax authorities for a refund several times.

The money collected in this way is shared by the banks or funds involved. The damage caused by cum-ex transactions was estimated at around 150 billion euros worldwide by an international research network led by the investigative network “Correctiv”. Previously, it had been assumed that 55 billion had escaped tax authorities around the world.

Germany alone accounts for 36 billion euros, and France around 33 billion euros in twenty years. Only states with stricter financial supervision or which reacted earlier, such as the USA and Great Britain, got off lightly.

For Chancellor Scholz, his contacts with the Warburg Bank could become tricky in the next few days. At the end of this week he has to answer questions in the investigative committee of the Hamburg Parliament, the state parliament. Union man Hauer asks him to then “comment on the targeted deletions and the missing calendar entries in detail”, to which “loaded chat logs and irregularities in Scholz’ calendars would now also come”.

According to Hauer, the Federal Chancellor “should come clean and no longer dodge legitimate questions from journalists and politicians”.

The latest developments in the affair shouldn’t make it any easier for him. A few days ago, more than 200,000 euros were found in the locker of another prominent Hamburg social democrat – which is not a criminal offense, only: Johannes Kahrs, long housekeeper of the SPD parliamentary group, is also being investigated in connection with the cum-ex scandal.

“Either Kahrs proves the origin of the money or he invokes his right to remain silent due to the ongoing Cum-Ex investigations against him,” wrote former left-wing finance politician Fabio De Masi on Twitter. If he is silent, it is obvious that the money is connected to Cum-Ex and then the Chancellor also has a problem.

However, his spokesman has so far denied that he knew anything about the money in Kahrs’ locker. Connoisseurs like Hauer are skeptical about Scholz’s repeatedly emphasized ignorance. He is reminiscent of another affair in which Scholz – already Minister of Finance at the time – had to testify in a Bundestag committee about Wirecard. Hauer was chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Wirecard investigative committee. Correspondence from the later chancellor could not be found in the files there either, and had not been “recorded”. “Why should he have acted differently with the cum-ex scandal?”