The case dates back to his time as mayor of Hamburg. The opposition criticizes the lack of “transparency”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz denied any involvement in the Cum-Ex tax fraud plot involving several European stockbrokers before a committee of the Hamburg State Parliament this Friday.
These agents took advantage of a legal loophole that allowed them to receive tax refunds for taxes they had not paid. As for Scholz, the commission is investigating whether the chancellor or other senior officials of his Social Democratic party used their influence to exempt Warburg Bank from paying $47 million in taxes.
“I had no influence whatsoever on Warburg’s tax proceeding, nor is there any indication that he agreed with what was being done,” Scholz said in his new appearance.
Scholz had previously denied all charges in a case dating back to his time as mayor of Hamburg, when he had three meetings with the bank’s owners, Max Warburg and Christian Olearius, in 2016 and 2017.
Scholz admitted his presence at these meetings during his first appearance, but assured that he did not remember the content of the conversations.
Olearius stated in his testimony that Scholz had sent a letter to the then state finance minister, Peter Tschentscher, declaring the collection of these taxes “unjustified”. Shortly afterwards, the state tax authorities withdrew the lawsuit, requiring the bank to pay it 47 million, knowing the case had been prescribed.
The bank, one of the economic pillars of Germany’s second-largest city, eventually paid the taxes at stake following the intervention of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Tschentscher, now the mayor of Hamburg, confirmed that he forwarded Scholz’s letter but described these allegations as “baseless”, while the opposition criticized the chancellor for his lack of transparency.
“Scholz has already admitted three talks, while he had previously assured that he participated in only one,” Christian Democrat leader Friedrich Merz complained to Handelsblatt newspaper. For the leader of the left, Dietmar Barsch, this case casts “a cloud of mistrust on the chancellor”.
However, the German chief executive received strong support from the finance minister, the liberal Christian Linder, who told the Rheinische Post newspaper his “absolute confidence” in the chancellor.
Source: La Verdad