Co-ex in Hamburg: Warburg employee speaks out

Co-ex in Hamburg: Warburg employee speaks out

Why did the Hamburg Tax Office settle additional tax claims against Warburg-Bank in the double-digit millions? The parliamentary committee to investigate the co-ex scam should clarify whether there was any influence from politics. On Friday, the bank’s general counsel Christoph Greenen was asked about this. Warburg’s co-owner Christian Olearius announced shortly before that he no longer wanted to testify.

“The discovery measure came as a complete surprise to me at the time,” said the head of the legal department, Christoph Greenen. To the best of his knowledge, no one in the bank was aware of the co-ex deals. In the years that the business took place, he is said to have “either not been working for Warburg or not involved in the processes”.

Co-ex scandal: Did Hamburg politics have any impact?

As a reminder: Warburg Bank was involved in so-called co-ex transactions, in which taxes are “reimbursed” by the state that were never paid. The investigative committee should clear the allegation of possible influence by prominent SPD politicians (above then-mayor Olaf Scholz and then-finance senator Peter Tschancher). The background to this is the meetings between Scholz and Warburg co-owner Christian Olearius in 2016 and 2017.

Hamburger Warburg-Bank: Christian O’Reilly does not want to testify

At that time, there was already an investigation against Olearius because suspicion of serious tax evasion. Hamburg later allowed potential additional tax claims of €47 million to be legally-barred. Another demand for 43 million euros was called only after the intervention of the Federal Ministry of Finance. Meanwhile, Warburg Bank has paid all tax claims, but this is not a confession of guilt, as it insisted.

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About three weeks ago, Christian Olerius initially announced that he would testify before the investigative committee. Until now, he and Max Warburg were represented only by lawyers. On Friday, committee chairman Matthias Petersen (SPD) announced that Olearius would ultimately not testify. His lawyer has yet to publicly comment on the reasons.

Hamburg: Warburg’s general consul is lacking in memory

“We’re a fairly manageable team there,” said the bank’s general counsel. Talks to the management on a daily basis. Greenon did not speak to Olearius about the political impact on the payment of taxes.

Co-ex scandal in Hamburg: Olaf Scholz was forgetful

Olearius is said to have only reported to Greenen about an informative meeting with the then mayor, Olaf Scholz (SPD). How the appointment happened and whether he had advised her to do so, she does not remember.

You might also be interested in: Scholz, Warburg & Co-Ex: CDU and Left: Starting Signals for Reevaluation

In late April, Scholz, the federal finance minister, had a memory hiatus before the committee to meet with Olearius. He called the notion that the effect of politics on tax officials was “unfounded horror stories”. After the editorial deadline, the former head of the Hamburg tax office for large companies must also testify.

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