Christian Olearius, co-owner of the Warburg Bank, has been charged with serious tax evasion, among other things. He was one of the protagonists in the Hamburg scandal about cum-ex deals. At the time, the mayor of Hamburg probably tried to help him, too, Olaf Scholz.
The Cologne public prosecutor has filed charges against the former boss and current co-owner of the Hamburg private bank M.M. Warburg raised. According to research by WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung, the public prosecutor’s office accuses the Hanseatic banker Christian Olearius of serious tax evasion in several cases. The tax damage amounts to well over 100 million euros. This would make Olearius the first former or current head of a bank to answer to the Bonn Regional Court for cum-ex transactions.
In the past, Olearius said he was unaware of the illegality of the cum-ex deals. In a recent request, his lawyer did not address the allegations, but said that no tax damage had occurred and that all claims had already been paid. In fact, after the Bonn Regional Court ordered a confiscation, Warburg transferred 155 million euros to the Treasury and sees his tax debt as settled.
The most incredible financial scandal in German history.
The charges against Christian Olearius had been expected for several months. Specifically, it is about so-called cum-ex transactions of the Hamburg money house in the years 2007 to 2011. During this period, Olearius was spokesman for the shareholders of the bank, later he moved to the Supervisory Board of Warburg. A spokesman for the bank wrote on request: “The tax assessment of the cum-ex transactions by the Warburg Group has proven to be wrong. The members of the Supervisory Board and the Management Board of M.M. Warburg
Cum-ex transactions are deals in which stock exchange traders, banks and lawyers buy and sell various shares and then have a tax that was never or only paid once reimbursed once or several times. Only in 2012 did the authorities succeed in preventing this type of business, which probably cost the tax authorities up to ten billion euros.
The Federal Court of Justice rated cum-ex transactions as illegal and punishable last year. In three trials before the district court in Bonn, all of the accused have been sentenced to prison terms, some on probation. Not all judgments are final.
The charges against Christian Olearius are also explosive because of his relationship with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). When trouble was announced in 2016, Olearius turned to the then mayor of Hamburg. At that time, the bank was threatened with demands from the tax authorities in the amount of 47 million euros for cum-ex transactions from 2009.
In the summer of 2020, the SZ reported on several meetings between the then mayor and the banker, referring to Olearius’ diaries. It was also about a letter that Olearius had given to the current chancellor and which dealt with the situation of the bank if it had to pay the money. A few weeks later, the demand from the tax authorities was off the table. Scholz and the Senate deny having interfered in the decisions of the tax authorities. In the meantime, a parliamentary committee of inquiry in the Hamburg Parliament is dealing with the situation.
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