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The comic that helps to understand Germany's most explosive safe deposit box

A locker that was opened by the Hamburg police in September last year and whose contents have now become public could overthrow the chancellor.

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The comic that helps to understand Germany's most explosive safe deposit box

A locker that was opened by the Hamburg police in September last year and whose contents have now become public could overthrow the chancellor. The former SPD politician Johannes Kahrs, once an almost all-powerful string puller in Hamburg's social democracy, is said to have kept more than 200,000 euros in it.

There is at least an initial suspicion that Kahrs is said to have campaigned in 2016 to ensure that the Hamburg Warburg Bank does not have to pay 47 million euros in tax money that was saved through illegal cum-ex transactions. The matter becomes explosive because Olaf Scholz was the first mayor of Hamburg at the time of the crime.

Kahrs had the locker at Hamburger Sparkasse – not in Switzerland. At least when it came to hiding money, he remained attached to a certain Hanseatic-social-democratic down-to-earth attitude. It would be nice to know what he told the police. Perhaps similarly dubious as the Roman officer in the legendary comic "Asterix with the Swiss" - one of the best that René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo have ever created. The Roman emphasizes that there are only a few sentimental memories of his campaigns with Caesar in his Helvetic safe deposit box. Asterix and Obelix, who are hiding in the spacious locker, spend the night in it together with a lot of gold and the death mask of the pharaoh Tutankhamen.

The story from 1970 (first in German in 1973) exemplifies the aura of secrecy that still surrounds safe deposit boxes today – especially those in Switzerland. Disappeared paintings as well as Fabergé eggs and Nazi gold are suspected to be in such treasure troves from time to time. but who knows that? The business basis of the Swiss banks, regardless of whether they offer safe deposit boxes or anonymous accounts, is extremely strict discretion: "What you put in there is none of my business. That's banking secrecy. For me you are just two anonymous numbers”, explains the banker and patriot Vreneli, who hides Asterix and Obelix in the safe deposit box. He reacts to the chaos that they create, panicking to the point of nervous breakdown.

Unrest in the lockers is bad for business. This was also shown when burglars, who had laboriously dug a tunnel, broke into the basement of a Volksbank in Berlin-Steglitz in 2013. They broke open many compartments, but then had to flee in a hurry, leaving jewels and valuables scattered on the floor. It took bank employees weeks to match everything back to its rightful owners. You can imagine how embarrassing that can be.

The incorruptible quaestor Claudius Incorruptus would certainly have asked the centurion a few uncomfortable questions if he had discovered the contents of his locker - like the Johannes Kahrs police now. "Quiet! Finally shut up! I want my accounts to remain quiet!” Barked banker Vreneli at the end of a chaotic night. A deep sigh that Kahrs and his bankers can also understand.

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