In the clarification of the controversial share transactions of the Hamburg private bank M.M. Warburg is overtaken by Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) from his political past. Scholz, who called the transactions around the dividend date (“Cum-Ex”) a few months ago as “a giant mess”, was the first mayor of Hamburg from 2011 to 2018. During this period, the business of M. M. Warburg and its subsidiary Warburg Invest fall, which as a subsidiary party in a criminal case at the district court in Bonn can expect property to be confiscated.
The Hamburg financial authorities are said to have acted carelessly in the investigations against Warburg during the times of Scholz and the then finance senator and today’s mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD). A claim by the tax authorities against Warburg in the amount of almost 47 million euros is said to be statute-barred at the end of 2016, according to reports by NDR and “Zeit”.
Opposition demands clarification
Members of the opposition, above all left-wing politician Fabio De Masi, are demanding further clarification from Scholz and the Federal Ministry of Finance. That had an effect on Thursday. Scholz has agreed to answer the questions of the MPs on Warburg and Cum-Ex, said Lisa Paus, finance spokeswoman for the Greens and chairwoman in the finance committee on Twitter. However, Scholz will only explain himself there on March 4, and thus only after the Hamburg elections on February 23.
Meanwhile, the Warburg lawyers are on the offensive in the criminal proceedings with several requests for evidence. In the letters to the 12th Grand Criminal Court, which the F.A.Z. are available, the lawyers of the law firm Flick Gocke Schaumburg request, among other things, to invite a financial officer from Hamburg as a witness. The head of the tax office for large companies in Hamburg should state that the authority has not investigated any recoveries for the period from 2007 to 2009. This would make these claims statute-barred.
Citing a verdict from the Federal Fiscal Court, the lawyers claim that it will not be possible to collect funds that the Warburg Group has received as a result of their cum-ex activities. Against this background, an order by the court “had to be omitted”. The two parties involved in collection would have to expect a total of up to 278 million euros. The Bonn criminal case is about a tax damage of almost 400 million euros.