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What does this entry in Tschentscher's calendar mean?

According to a “Spiegel” report, investigators from the Cologne public prosecutor’s office in the so-called Hamburg cum-ex affair about the Warburg Bank are supposed to be looking for a possible indication of a potentially relevant meeting between Hamburg’s then mayor Olaf Scholz and Hamburg’s finance senator Peter Tschentscher (both SPD ) encountered.

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What does this entry in Tschentscher's calendar mean?

According to a “Spiegel” report, investigators from the Cologne public prosecutor’s office in the so-called Hamburg cum-ex affair about the Warburg Bank are supposed to be looking for a possible indication of a potentially relevant meeting between Hamburg’s then mayor Olaf Scholz and Hamburg’s finance senator Peter Tschentscher (both SPD ) encountered. The magazine reported on Friday with reference to a “confidential note” from the investigators.

According to "Spiegel", the public prosecutor's office refers to an appointment entry in Tschentscher's confiscated appointment calendar from September 6, 2017 with the designation "BGM I HSH and 17.11.2016". The abbreviations stand for today's Chancellor Scholz, who was Hamburg's first mayor at the time, and the former Landesbank HSH. According to "Spiegel", the date marks the day on which the Hamburg tax authorities decided in the meantime to forgo a tax refund from the Warburg-Bank.

A spokesman for Tschentscher, who is currently Hamburg's first mayor, classified this as "misinformation" to the "Spiegel". The entry in Tschentscher's calendar reads "BGM I HSH". There is no reference to the date mentioned or the Warburg Bank. On September 6, 2017, Scholz and Tschentscher took part in a meeting on HSH Nordbank in the town hall. The institute was being privatized during this period.

According to "Spiegel", a spokeswoman for the federal government did not comment on the content on request. The calendar entry quoted by the magazine has no relation to the area of ​​responsibility of the Federal Chancellery, she said. In principle, however, the office can only comment on its own processes.

The cum-ex affair is about the question of whether the Hamburg tax administration could have saved the private bank Warburg from a multi-million dollar tax refund in connection with the so-called cum-ex scandal several years ago, possibly due to political intervention. An investigative committee of the Hamburg Parliament has been investigating the events for almost two years. Scholz repeatedly and emphatically rejected all allegations, most recently in a committee survey in August.

The public prosecutor's office in Cologne is investigating - independently of the political investigations in Hamburg - against bank employees on suspicion of tax evasion through cum-ex transactions. The investigations are not aimed at Scholz or other politicians. Cum-ex deals refer to moving shares around a dividend record date in order to recover capital gains tax that has not been paid. The state lost billions through this practice by banks in the past.

The Hamburg SPD reacted to the report on Friday, which they believe is "incorrect". The article would be based on a non-existent calendar entry dated September 6, 2017 titled "BGM I HSH and November 17, 2016". The SPD response says: “The calendar sheets in question have been available to the Cum-Ex parliamentary committee of inquiry since November 25, 2021 (file 122). The information contained there makes it clear that a typographical error in an overview list in files 122 and 210 could be responsible for the incorrect interpretation of the situation. The Senate Chancellery has already reported and corrected this error to the PUA Cum-Ex." Milan Pein, SPD chairman in the Cum-Ex investigation committee, attacks the Cologne investigators directly: "It is remarkable and amazing that the Cologne public prosecutor's office not only certifies such obvious transcription errors as 'potentially relevant evidence', but also creates a false connection and makes this a main point of their suspicions," he said.

The Hamburg CDU, on the other hand, sees their basic suspicions confirmed by the recent reporting. "Scholz and Tschentscher clearly said in their last interviews in the PUA Cum-Ex tax money affair that they had put all the facts on the table. If new facts come to light again, there is only one consequence: Scholz and Tschentscher allegedly lied to the people of Hamburg," said CDU parliamentary group leader Dennis Thering on Friday.

But the reconnaissance in Hamburg continues. On Friday afternoon, the Hamburg Parliament will advise on expanding its investigations into the "Cum-Ex" scandal. The constitutional and district committee has received a joint application from the CDU and the left as well as the FDP individual MP Anna von Treuenfels-Frowein. The politicians are calling for the Senate's handling of the former state-owned HSH Nordbank, which is also involved in "cum-ex" transactions, to be investigated in the parliamentary committee of inquiry.

The committee should first clarify whether an extension of the contract is possible within the framework of minority rights. Legal experts should be consulted for this purpose. The SPD and Greens have a two-thirds majority in the citizenship.

So far, the task of the investigative committee has been limited to investigating whether leading SPD politicians have influenced the tax treatment of the Warburg Bank, which is involved in the scandal. In the committee, however, it became clear that the Senate, the tax authorities and the tax authorities had also acted unusually in other cases and "abusive tax planning models" were not processed according to the then nationwide legal opinion, according to the application.

The AfD requested that the committee also examine donations from the Warburg Bank or from their environment to the SPD, CDU and FDP.

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