The state suffered billions in losses due to criminal stock trading. The traces of the criminal activity run through a number of documents – and reviewing them is time-consuming.
The Cologne public prosecutor’s office has released further Cum-Ex documents for the Hamburg investigative committee. This also includes the contents of email inboxes, said a spokeswoman for the NRW Ministry of Justice in Düsseldorf upon request. This data would now be made available to the committee in Hamburg promptly.
There was a heated dispute over the release of the documents. North Rhine-Westphalia Justice Minister Benjamin Limbach (Greens) sharply criticized the Cologne public prosecutor’s office about a month ago. She delayed the release of the documents to the parliamentary committee of inquiry in Hamburg. The North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Justice was sometimes informed too late or not at all.
Tens of thousands of moving boxes
Limbach specifically mentioned a procedure in which his company only found out after asking the public prosecutor’s office that documents amounting to tens of thousands of moving boxes in Cologne had to be digitized and viewed. The politicians from Hamburg had asked for files on this and other proceedings.
The former head of the Cologne public prosecutor’s office announced that he would retire early in the middle of the dispute over the files. There has been a new acting head since August 1st.
The Cologne public prosecutor’s office, which is responsible for Cum-Ex cases, is also investigating in connection with the Hamburg Warburg Bank, which is involved in the scandal. The files and evidence relate to data carriers and other evidence that were seized during a raid by the Cologne public prosecutor’s office in Hamburg in September 2021.
Billions in damage to the state
In cum-ex transactions, investors moved shares back and forth around the dividend record date with (“cum”) and without (“ex”) dividend entitlement. As a result, tax offices refunded capital gains taxes that had not been paid. The state suffered damage estimated at ten billion euros.
The role of the Hamburg financial administration in 2016 and 2017 was much discussed. At that time, the current Chancellor Scholz was the mayor of Hamburg. The Hanseatic city’s investigative committee is supposed to clarify whether leading SPD politicians influenced the tax treatment of the Warburg Bank during Scholz’s time as mayor.
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