BERLIN, Aug 9 ― Investigators have examined emails of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz over a widening probe related to a huge tax scandal that cost the government billions of euros, newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt reported yesterday.
The emails were probed in March and covered the period from January 1, 2015 when Scholz was mayor of Hamburg city.
Scholz was in the job until 2018, when he became finance minister in former chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet.
First exposed in 2017, the “cum-ex” scam involved numerous participants swiftly exchanging company shares amongst themselves around dividend day to claim multiple tax rebates on a single payout.
Dozens of people have been indicted over the scandal in Germany, including bankers, stock traders, lawyers and financial consultants.
The probe has now widened over a 2016 decision by finance authorities in Hamburg city to drop a bid to claw back 47 million euros in taxes from private bank M. M. Warburg over such cum-ex trades.
Investigators are examining if and how political figures had influenced that decision.
Scholz is due to be grilled for the second time by a parliamentary committee in Hamburg next Friday over the scandal.
His spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told Hamburger Abendblatt he was not aware of the investigations into Scholz's emails.
He added that “there is also nothing to hide”.
German media had reported that shortly after a telephone conversation in 2016 between Scholz and Warburg bank's former boss Christian Olearius, tax authorities dropped the 47-million euro claim against the company.
But Scholz has denied having exerted pressure on Hamburg's tax authority over Warburg's cum-ex activity. ― AFP