Berlin This find raises questions: 214,800 euros in cash are said to have been in a safe deposit box belonging to the former SPD member of the Bundestag Johannes Kahrs. This is how the “Bild” newspaper reports.
At the request of the Handelsblatt, the Cologne public prosecutor’s office did not comment specifically on the explosive process. However, the investigators announced that “a search warrant was issued by the Cologne district court against three suspects on September 28, 2021”.
They found the money during a search related to illegal cum-ex deals. This is what financial experts call stock deals where multiple refunds of capital gains taxes are requested but only paid once. The investigators searched Kahrs’ private apartment and found papers that pointed to a locker.
However, it is completely unclear whether the cash is related to the cum-ex transactions. It was not secured by the investigators either. Kahrs himself did not respond to a request.
Warburg scandal is also sensitive for Scholz
What is the origin of the money? Apparently there are indications that it is connected to the Cum-Ex affair about the Hamburger Warburg Bank. It could be a quid pro quo for Kahrs’ alleged use of money to save the bank from a million-dollar tax refund.
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So far this is completely unsecured. The initial suspicion of favoring tax evasion is therefore examined. At the heart of the process is the question of why the financial authorities of the Hanseatic city initially refrained from reclaiming millions in taxes from illegal cum-ex transactions from the bank of entrepreneur Christian Olearius in 2016. The banker is said to have contacted Kahrs, among others, after a raid on his bank and asked for help. This was also promised to him.
The Warburg scandal is also sensitive because Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) was Hamburg’s first mayor at the time – and Kahrs was not only his party friend, but also a confidant. At least one meeting between Scholz and Olearius is documented.
The Chancellor denies any influence on the initially unclaimed tax refund of around 90 million euros. According to his own statements, he cannot really remember the content of the discussions with the Warburg bankers.
Scholz did not know anything about a possible larger amount of cash in Johannes Kahrs’ possession. He can rule that out, said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit on Monday in Berlin.
At the end of next week, Scholz will again answer the questions of the investigative committee on the so-called cum-ex scandal surrounding the Hamburg Warburg Bank. “Everything that needs to be said will be dealt with there, too,” Hebestreit said.
E-mails from Chancellor Scholz were searched
There should also be questions about a search of Scholz’s emails, calendar entries and attachments that had been received since January 1, 2015. The “Hamburger Abendblatt” reports on Monday and cites documents available to members of the parliamentary committee of inquiry in Hamburg. The spokesman for the federal government said that he was not aware of the search of the Scholz emails.
The Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry is investigating whether political influence was used to prevent the Hamburg tax authorities from claiming back 47 million euros in tax money from the Warburg Bank.
The opposition is increasingly demanding a quick and complete clarification of the matter. If Kahrs does not explain the origin of the money, but remains silent, the suspicion arises that this sum has something to do with the scandal, said the former member of the Bundestag for the left, Fabio De Masi, on Monday on Deutschlandfunk. Then this would also be a problem for Chancellor Scholz, who was the first mayor of Hamburg at the time.
De Masi emphasized that Kahrs’ main task was to arrange the meetings between Scholz and representatives of the private bank. Scholz is to testify next week in the investigative committee of the Hamburg Parliament on the Cum-Ex affair.
CDU: “Scholz and Tschentscher may no longer go underground”
CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja criticized the fact that Olaf Scholz will not voluntarily do anything to clarify the Kahrs scandal and its involvement in the Cum-Ex business. “His testimony before the investigative committee in Hamburg will probably, as in the past, reveal large gaps in memory and sheer ignorance on the part of the chancellor,” Czaja told the Handelsblatt.
But not only this lack of conscientiousness for a head of government is frightening. “Above all, we should all be concerned that the Chancellor will be more concerned with himself, his party and his dear comrades in the coming weeks than with the fate of our country in a historically acute situation,” said the CDU General Secretary.
The 58-year-old Kahrs had resigned from all political offices in 2020 after losing out in the party’s internal race against Eva Högl for the office of military commissioner.
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