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Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Climate Foundation: Need for explanation because of burned tax files

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Tax files that go up in flames: The state government in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is coming under pressure again because of the state’s controversial climate foundation.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, a tax officer in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania burned tax files from the controversial Climate Foundation MV – in a “short-cut reaction”. A spokesman for the judicial authority in Stralsund, which investigated the case, spoke of pressure when searching for the tax papers of the climate foundation in the Ribnitz-Damgarten tax office. When the officer in charge finally discovered the papers and realized that they had been with her for some time, she burned them.

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The Climate Foundation MV – conceived to circumvent threatened US sanctions in the construction of the Baltic Sea natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 – weighs like a block of stone on the government of Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD). The foundation has been criticized for supporting the completion of the gas pipeline. According to Schwesig, this was about shielding companies from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania involved in the construction from US sanctions.

The magazine “Cicero” writes that there was probably political pressure on the tax authorities. Schwesig and her Finance Minister Heiko Geue (SPD) vehemently contradicted this on Thursday. “There was no political influence on the processors in the tax office,” explained Geue. Schwesig also rejected this. According to Geue, however, there were votes “as part of the technical supervision” to clarify legal issues relating to the taxation of the MV Climate and Environmental Protection Foundation. “Here the tax office has coordinated with the responsible tax department in the Ministry of Finance.”

The public prosecutor sees no impairment

The case concerned gift taxes on 20 million euros in capital from Nord Stream 2 for the foundation. The documents were subsequently requested and finally a notice of 9.8 million euros in gift tax was issued. In contrast, the Climate Foundation went before the Greifswald Finance Court in autumn 2022. The procedure is still ongoing.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, the tax audit was ultimately not affected by the destruction of the original documents. The woman also reported the matter to her supervisor herself, who in turn reported it to the public prosecutor on May 3, 2022. That is why the proceedings against the woman were discontinued on September 20, 2022, against payment of a monetary condition.

The opposition in the Schwerin state parliament doubts Geue’s and Schwesig’s assurances that there was no political pressure. “If it were really as Mr. Geue claims, then the employee would not have burned the documents in panic instead of simply admitting her mistake,” said the chairman of the CDU parliamentary group, Franz-Robert Liskow. “The only way I can explain what the officer did was that the pressure that the Ministry of Finance put on the tax office must have been enormous.” Liskow announced special meetings of the legal and finance committees on the process. Representatives of the FDP, AfD and Greens also sharply criticized the state government.

Source: Stern

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