The Cologne chief public prosecutor and "Cum-Ex" expert Anne Brorhilker cannot understand the waiver of the Hamburg tax authorities to claim additional taxes from the Warburg Bank involved in the tax scandal. From their point of view, a recovery would have been possible as early as 2016. And "in 2017 the evidence was even better," she said on Friday as a witness in the parliamentary committee of inquiry of the Hamburg citizenship. Brorhilker has been investigating the "Cum-Ex" scandal for more than eight years against bankers, consultants and stock traders. She is known to be a connoisseur of the scene and has ensured, among other things, that the former General Manager of Warburg Bank has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison on the matter.

The Hamburg tax office for large companies wanted to collect additional tax claims in the amount of 47 million euros for 2009 and 2010, after the limitation period had expired, but then waived, for example, with reference to a possible bankruptcy of the bank. Another 43 million euros were only requested in 2017 after the Federal Ministry of Finance intervened. The investigative committee now wants to find out whether this procedure may have come about through the political influence of leading SPD politicians such as the then Hamburg mayor and likely new Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz as well as the former Hamburg Senator for Finance and today's Mayor Peter Tschentscher.

The background to possible influence are meetings between Scholz and the co-owners of the bank, Max Warburg and Christian Olearius, in 2016 and 2017. At that time, there were already investigations against Olearius on suspicion of serious tax evasion. Scholz had admitted the meetings in the committee of inquiry, but stated that he could not remember the content of the discussions. However, there was no influence on the tax procedure.

"I can not understand the decision," said Brorhilker with a view to the action of the Hamburg tax authorities. Especially since the case was accompanied by criminal law and was therefore legally easier for the tax authorities to assess. That is not rocket science. With a view to the behavior of the banks in the “cum-ex” transactions, she said: “I only know that bogus invoices are written from private bank to private bank from the scaffolding.” The consideration of the Hamburg tax authorities is incomprehensible. She wonders "that such a hesitant attitude was displayed," said the 48-year-old.

Brorhilker said nothing about a possible influence of SPD politicians on the decisions of the tax authorities. The public prosecutor's office in Cologne had previously severely restricted their permission to testify. Accordingly, she was only allowed to comment on ongoing investigations in closed meetings and only after examining individual cases. This also applies to closed procedures that could extend into ongoing ones. The public prosecutor's office in Cologne is currently investigating, for example, the former SPD member of the Bundestag Johannes Kahrs, the former SPD interior senator Alfons Pawelczyk and the tax officer responsible for the Warburg Bank because of the initial suspicion of favoritism.

With “Cum Ex”, financial players postponed large blocks of shares with (“cum”) and without “ex” dividend entitlement around the dividend date in a tricky system and then had taxes reimbursed several times.

According to estimates, the state lost tens of billions of euros as a result.

The Warburg Bank now had to repay 176 million euros to the tax authorities, but continues to take legal action against it.

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