Olaf Scholz in the Bundestag: "There was no political intervention"
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It is not easy for Olaf Scholz at the moment.
There would be the Wirecard case with the question of what his finance ministry knew about the machinations of the now insolvent payment service provider.
Now an older scandal is catching up with the SPD politician: The one about his role in the cum-ex deals, which according to a judgment are forbidden and of which Hamburg's Warburg Bank is suspected.
In the government survey in the Bundestag, the candidate for chancellor had to face critical questions from MPs - and tried to defend himself.
"There should be no political intervention and there was no such thing in Hamburg," said Scholz in the Bundestag.
"As everywhere in Germany, the tax offices in Hamburg make their own decisions according to the law."
In the Warburg case, Scholz is accused of exerting influence on the financial administration of the Hanseatic city for tax reclaims from the Hamburg Warburg Bank due to illegal cum-ex transactions.
The background to this are Scholz's contacts with Warburg co-owner Christian Olearius, who is said to have tried to avert the repayment claims against the bank totaling 90 million euros.
Shortly after a phone call between Olearius and Scholz, the tax authorities dropped a demand for a return of 47 million euros.
At that time, Scholz was Hamburg's first mayor and state chairman of the Hamburg SPD.
CSU politician Michelbach is satisfied
Presumably also in order to rebut any suspicion of involvement, the finance minister now promised a correction of the law.
They are intended to ensure the collection of profits from these fraud cases even after the statute of limitations has expired.
According to financial politicians in the finance committee, the SPD politician signaled this.
CSU politician Hans Michelbach said he was very happy that there should be an interruption of the statute of limitations for all Cum-Ex deals.
Scholz would thus correct a change in the law that his ministry had initiated with the second Corona tax aid law.
A new paragraph 375a had been inserted into the tax code.
This should enable public prosecutors to collect the cum-ex profits from banks and other parties involved after a conviction even if the cases are already statute-barred for tax purposes.
In the same legislative package, however, this was provided with a restriction: The new provision should not apply to cases that were already statute-barred from July 1, 2020.
Many cum-ex cases were spared.
This should now be corrected.
Scholz also spoke out in favor of tough action against beneficiaries of so-called cum-ex deals.
Despite errors in the legislation, these were "not compatible with the law from the start" and he supported the efforts of the authorities to reclaim the money.
"I am sure that we will manage to get those who have something to do with Cum-Ex all over Germany," the minister said.
In the case of cum-ex transactions, investors have a once-paid capital gains tax on stock dividends reimbursed several times with the help of banks.
The treasury suffered billions in damage.
Icon: The mirror
apr / Reuters / AFP