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The German Chancellor risks being implicated in an international tax evasion scandal

The public debate in Germany has recently centered on the so-called Cum-Ex Affäre, an international tax fraud scandal in which German Chancellor Olaf Scholz may have been involved.

This tax evasion scheme was exposed for the first time in 2018 as a result of the investigation of 30 journalists from fifteen different countries. The fraud affected twelve European Union countries, as well as the United States and Switzerland. It is estimated that the total amount of money stolen from state coffers is around 150 billion euros.

Germany is the country with the most money missing, with around 30 billion euros missing. Various banks and financial institutions, as well as brokers, consultants, and lawyers were involved in the fraud. According to the investigations, the participants were able to obtain state reimbursement for taxes they never paid. The process is somewhat complicated, and it is based on share exchanges close to the ex-dividend date.

The journalists were able to expose the crime thanks to more than 200 documents leaked by anonymous sources, owing to the complexity of the concocted fraud and the number of actors involved.

Case of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was the mayor of Hamburg from 2011 to 2018. The Warburg Bank, a private bank based in Hamburg, is also involved in the scandal. At the moment, it is unclear whether Olaf Scholz had any influence on the Bank's tax policy while he was in office.

Indeed, the Chancellor repeatedly stated that he had nothing to do with it. Nonetheless, there is evidence that three meetings between Scholz and Warburg Bank owners occurred between 2016 and 2017. Scholz initially denied they occurred, but later admitted to not remembering the content of those conversations. However, one of Warburg Bank's owners stated that Olaf Scholz suggested a method to avoid paying 47 million euros in incorrectly refunded taxes in 2009.

Furthermore, it appears that the Hamburg Tax Office was inefficient in handling the situation. Indeed, the Office decided to intervene in 2016; however, in November of that year, it renounced the payment, effectively ending the matter. Later, it was Angela Merkel's federal government that put pressure on Warburg Bank to release the funds.

As a result, the prosecution requested that the email that Olaf Scholz wrote while in office be examined: there is evidence that conversations about the matter were deleted, according to the investigators.

There is no official charge filed against Germany's Chancellor, but he is not in a good position. Meanwhile, the opposition in the German Parliament, led by the conservative CDU, is attempting to capitalize on the scandal. CDU leader Friedrich Merz stated unequivocally that he does not believe anything the Chancellor said.

Furthermore, the German Chancellor is currently experiencing a decline in popularity. According to an Insa Institute survey, 62% of Germans are dissatisfied with his work. Scholz would only come in third with 18% of the vote if Germans voted directly for their Chancellor now. Before him, the opposition leader Friedrich Merz received 19% of the vote, while Scholz Vice-Chancellor Rober Habeck received 25% of the vote.

The investigation will continue to determine whether Olaf Scholz was involved in the tax fraud. What is certain is that the accusations alone are heavily influencing the balance of Parliament and public opinion.

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Tags: #Germany #OlafScholz #TaxFraud #CumEx


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