Hamburg's finance senator Andreas Dressel defended the behavior of the Hanseatic city's tax authorities in the cum-ex affair.

In his testimony to the committee of inquiry into the Cum-ex affair on Friday, he warned against finally assessing certain decisions in 2015, 2016 or 2017 with a "shortened view based on today's legal knowledge".

Matthias Wysuwa

Political correspondent for northern Germany and Scandinavia based in Hamburg.

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Only now is there a "maximum of legal clarity", which would not have been possible without statements from key witnesses in the proceedings.

Dressel emphasized that it is not the senator who makes the decisions, but the tax authorities.

The committee of inquiry wants to clarify whether there was political influence on the tax administration, which initially waived tax reclaims of 47 million euros from the private bank Warburg in the Cum-ex affair in November 2016.

In 2017 she had to be instructed by the Federal Ministry of Finance to claim 43 million euros.

The Hamburg authorities initially cited legal uncertainties.

The then mayor and current mayor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had meetings with co-owners of the Warburg Bank in 2016 and 2017, but denied any influence on the tax procedure.

The current mayor and former finance senator Peter Tschentscher (SPD) is to be questioned in the committee next Friday.

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