Olaf Scholz reacted visibly piqued when he was asked about the raid by the Osnabrück public prosecutor’s office in his ministry of finance and the ministry of justice. “The public prosecutor’s office has a few questions for the ministries in Berlin about the investigation into unknown employees in Cologne. That could have been put in writing, ”said the Federal Finance Minister and SPD candidate for Chancellor. “Now they have been asked in a different way. Everyone can rate that for themselves. “
Comrades seconded and whispered that the time of the raid in the middle of the election campaign was probably no coincidence. Your unequivocal accusation: The public prosecutor’s office can be hired for the CDU candidate Armin Laschet.
There is no evidence that the Union politician interfered in the work of the public prosecutor’s office. The investigative agency does the work it has to do. The suspicion against employees of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) weighs heavily. It is not the prosecution’s fault that this authority is Scholz’s responsibility.
Since 2020, the public prosecutor’s office has been investigating employees of the FIU, the German anti-money laundering authority, for obstruction of punishment in the office. She has been accused of serious negligence several times in the past. Only a few months ago, the Federal Audit Office pointed out glaring deficits. Experts estimate that around 100 billion euros are laundered annually in Germany.
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In the case investigated by the Osnabrück public prosecutor’s office, the FIU even failed to forward suspicious transaction reports to the police and the judiciary that had already been made by three banks. This involved payments that may have come from the arms and drug trafficking as well as terrorist financing. Now the public prosecutor’s office suspects that there is more to it than mere sloppiness.
Was the authority management involved?
Important traces of the affair lead to Berlin. In the course of the investigation, it should be examined whether and to what extent the management and responsible persons of the ministries as well as superior departments were involved in the decisions of the FIU, explained the public prosecutor’s office. The aim of the searches is to “further clarify the suspected criminal offense and individual responsibilities.”
The SPD is damaging the rule of law if it describes investigations without providing evidence as politically motivated. No public prosecutor’s office investigates in the dark, no judge signs preliminary decisions on good luck.
The raid on the Ministry of Justice and the Treasury was a so-called search of third parties. It serves to clarify the matter. The fact that the public prosecutor’s office searched the two ministries despite the expected political headwinds does not cast a shadow over the rule of law. It’s an ID that it works.
The Braunschweig public prosecutor would do well to get an idea of the situation for yourself. You have to get a comprehensive overview in order to filter out the relevant information. It would simply not be enough to “send the ministries a few questions,” as Scholz suggests. Is it really what Germany’s Vice Chancellor has in mind when it comes to the investigative activities of German law enforcement agencies?
Failure to do other scandals
In any case, German authorities have failed in investigating crimes in the past. The Wirecard accounting scandal is a great example, the tax scandal over cum-ex deals is another.
Under the pretext that tax or business secrets should be kept, ministries were very sparing when it came to dealing with the scandals. Concern for one’s own supposedly clean slate apparently stood in the way of finding the truth.
Prosecutors shouldn’t let that stop them. With their investigations, you make an important contribution to highlighting the structural deficits in the fight against money laundering in Germany.
Since the FIU took over the lead in money laundering control, the number of suspicious transaction reports has fallen strangely. That contradicts every everyday experience. Money launderers still have it far too easy in Germany. The state cannot eliminate this evil by suppressing it. He has to examine it – even where Scholz doesn’t like it.
More: What the raid in the Federal Ministry of Finance and Justice is all about