When journalists repeatedly addressed Olaf Scholz at his summer press conference last Thursday about the cum-ex transactions of the private bank MM Warburg and the investigation by an investigative committee in Hamburg, the SPD politician remained true to his line.

The financial authorities were not influenced by politics, Scholz asserted, before adding: "I am sure that this knowledge will not be changed."

Marcus Young

Editor in Business.

  • Follow I follow

One might almost think that Scholz already knew at this point that the Hamburg public prosecutor's office, as the "protective and defensive wall of the state government", would continue to give him tailwind, says lawyer Gerhard Strate.

At the same time as Scholz's statement, a letter from the Attorney General's Office arrived at Strate's office in Hamburg.

As the FAZ reported, the criminal defense lawyer filed a complaint against Scholz, his successor as Hamburg's first mayor, Peter Tschentscher (SPD), and other people in the spring on suspicion of aiding and abetting tax evasion.

But the public prosecutor's office blocked it.

By decision, she now rejected Strate's complaint against the non-initiation of investigations.

Setback for the Scholz critics

A spokeswoman for the prosecution said that the public prosecutor's office had again refrained from investigating Scholz and Tschentscher because they had denied an initial suspicion of criminal prosecution.

The criminal complaint would not have resulted in any findings to deviate from the earlier decision.

It's a setback for Scholz's critics.

It comes a few days before the Chancellor has to answer questions in Hamburg about the failure to make additional tax demands on Warburg for 47 million euros.

The opposition in Hamburg speaks of a "gift for cum-ex offenders".

Strate has since published the correspondence with the public prosecutor.

He accuses the prosecution authorities of the Hanseatic city of a lack of courage to “get to the bottom of things”.

In his opinion, Scholz and Tschentscher helped to “secure the loot” – a criminally “completely neutral behavior” could not be identified.

Warburg-Bank could not safely assume that it would have been able to keep its profits from the cum-ex deals, explains Strate.

"Because the crediting took place expressly subject to the re-examination, which actually took place later.

I can only explain the current decision of the Hamburg Public Prosecutor’s Office not to remedy my complaint as a political decision.”

The Finanzwende citizens' movement also appealed to Scholz: "Above all, your lack of will to create transparency about the allegations and to draw conclusions from them has fueled disenchantment with politics for years." The Chancellor should no longer stand in the way of complete clarification.

Previously, Finanzwende board member Gerhard Schick had criticized the "good timing" of the prosecutors just a few days before the meeting of the committee of inquiry on Friday.

"Over the years, the Hamburg public prosecutor's office has not found it necessary to investigate Olearius and other Warburg Bank managers for cum-ex, some of whom have since been convicted and the judgments confirmed by the Federal Court of Justice," wrote the former Greens politician on twitter.

The previous evening, the Warburg co-owner named there had made the headlines.

Christian Olearius, against whom the Cologne public prosecutor filed charges in July on suspicion of serious tax evasion, is taking legal action against a criminal case.

His lawyers have lodged a complaint against the indictment being served.

This is before the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Cologne.

"The aim of the complaint is that the charges are returned to the public prosecutor's office," says a judicial spokesman.

A decision is expected in the coming weeks.

If the Higher Regional Court rejects the complaint, it would be possible to open proceedings.

A spokesman for Olearius renewed the allegations against the investigators (FAZ of July 7).

The indictment had been leaked to the media in advance, "before the indictment was presented to the court and a few days before it was presented to the accused".

In addition, Olearius has not been heard once in recent years - despite numerous searches of the bank and meanwhile three criminal proceedings in Bonn.

This approach contradicts "all the principles of a constitutional state".