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Confidant of Chancellor Scholz, SPD, stashed 214,800 euros in his safe deposit box

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

Cum-Ex scandal catches up with Social Democrats.

After dubious money finds at Johannes Kahrs, SPD, the air for Chancellor Olaf Scholz becomes thinner.

For weeks, people have been puzzling over why Chancellor Olaf Scholz is zigzagging in his Russia policy. Time and again, suspicions have been voiced that Russian President Putin has information that could bring Olaf Scholz's career to an abrupt end. Keyword: "Cum-ex" transactions - share sales and purchases around the dividend record date with the aim of either saving capital taxes or even collecting money from the tax office. Estimated loss for the state: up to 37 billion euros.

But it looks like the Hamburg public prosecutor's office also has material that could be dangerous for the chancellor. For, as has now come to light, a safe deposit box was also searched in connection with the house search of Johannes Jahrs, an SPD firebrand, and 214,800 euros and $2,400 in cash were found.

That the money was in the locker of the SPD politician, the investigators know since September 28, 2021 - almost year. At that time, two days after the federal election and not a day earlier, the box was opened at the Hamburger Sparkasse and the highly explosive contents were discovered.

The find is highly explosive because Kahrs is suspected of having ensured, with cover from the then First Mayor and now Chancellor Olaf Scholz, that the Hamburg private bank Warburg was spared from tax claims of over 47 million euros in 2016. The Hamburg tax authorities allowed the deadline for the statute of limitations to pass.

One year later, the SPD district association Hamburg-Mitte collected party donations of 45,500 euros. Sender: the private bank Warburg. Member in Hamburg-Mitte: Johannes Kahrs.

Kahrs had already disappeared from the scene politically and very surprisingly in May 2020 after his resignation from the Bundestag mandate. It was also he, according to a journalist who described the case in a book, who "paved the way for the bankers to the Federal Ministry of Finance and Olaf Scholz."

One thing is certain: Chancellor Scholz met several times with the bankers of the private bank, but could not recall the content of the meetings during various interviews.

Even for the SPD, this is probably too much. A member of parliament tweeted after the contents of the safe deposit box became known: "I lack the imagination that there is a legally clean justification for this." Johannes Kahrs, who was known for his diatribes against political opponents, probably has more imagination. Whether that will be enough to save Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the long term, however, remains to be seen.

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