DThe Union has requested a committee of inquiry into the possible involvement of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other politicians in the tax scandal involving the Hamburg Warburg Bank. Despite a similar committee in Hamburg, there are still many open questions and contradictions, said Member of Parliament Matthias Hauer on Thursday in Berlin. Scholz has so far shown no willingness to clarify.
The traffic light government will possibly prevent the committee of inquiry planned by the opposition into the financial scandal at the Hamburg Warburg Bank. SPD and FDP expressed legal concerns: It is questionable whether the Bundestag should be allowed to investigate this Hamburg matter at all. In addition, all questions in the committee there have long since been answered. “The CDU/CSU is not concerned with gaining knowledge, but with pure propaganda against Olaf Scholz,” criticized SPD MP Michael Schrodi.
Long procedure possible
The Bundestag referred the Union’s application for the establishment of a U-committee on Thursday to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure Committee. From the SPD’s point of view, the federal government is not responsible for many points that should be examined more closely. In the rules of procedure body, the Union can – not as usual – set up a committee of inquiry with at least a quarter of the votes, but needs a majority, which the three traffic light groups SPD, Greens and FDP can prevent. The Union could then have this checked before the Federal Constitutional Court, or all factions could agree on a then probably slimmed-down order from the committee of inquiry.
According to the will of the Union, the investigative committee should clarify whether there was political influence on the tax affair surrounding the Warburg Bank when Scholz was mayor of Hamburg. The bank was caught up in the “Cum-Ex” scandal and had received a tax refund from the state that had never been paid before. The Hamburg tax authority initially waived claims for reimbursement of 47 million euros. According to a court ruling by the Bonn Regional Court, the bank later settled all outstanding amounts.
During this time, Scholz met the bank’s co-partner, Christian Olearius, several times. After that, the refund was waived. Today’s chancellor categorically rules out any influence on the tax case. At the same time, during his two interrogations before the investigative committee of the Hamburg Parliament, he stated that he could no longer remember the conversations at the time.
In the Bundestag, too, Scholz “drummed around” about questions, criticized Union parliamentary group leader Mathias Middelberg. There were many indications of influence, said Middelberg. He and other Union speakers demanded that Scholz have to explain himself and answer open questions. SPD and FDP, on the other hand, emphasized that all relevant witnesses had already been heard in Hamburg and that all questions had been answered. “Who and what do you want to ask about that,” said Schrodi.
allegations of political motives
The Green MP Katharina Beck emphasized that the “Cum-Ex” scandal itself must be further investigated. However, hardly any gains in knowledge can be expected from a Bundestag committee. The Union is not about education, but about political motives. Left and AfD, on the other hand, support the Union’s concerns. Before the committee is finally voted on, a committee in the Bundestag is now advising on the catalog of questions presented by the CDU and CSU.
The Bonn Regional Court has just admitted charges against Olearius – for particularly serious tax evasion between 2006 and 2019. It is about a tax loss of almost 280 million euros. CDU MP Matthias Hauer said Scholz wanted to draw a line. However, the federal government has more opportunities for clarification and must therefore take action. Representatives of the Greens and the FDP made it clear that, like the SPD, they were not interested in a second and identical sub-committee. Insiders assume that the U-Committee will come in a few months, albeit with an educational mandate that is more clearly tailored to the federal government. The negotiations on this in the Rules of Procedure Committee are likely to drag on for several weeks.
In cum-ex transactions, the German state suffered an estimated loss of at least twelve billion euros. Investors had the capital gains tax paid once on stock dividends reimbursed several times with the help of banks. To do this, around the key date of the dividend payment, they shifted shares among themselves with – in technical jargon cum – and without – so-called ex – dividend entitlement.