Christian Olearius, the co-owner of MM Warburg, one of Germany’s oldest private banks, has been charged with orchestrating a €280mn tax fraud scheme.
- The case is part of the larger “cum-ex” scandal, where investors manipulated tax authorities to receive billions of euros in fraudulent dividend tax refunds.
- Olearius’s alleged involvement in cum-ex trades occurred between 2007 and 2011, and the bank is said to have received €280mn in illicit tax refunds.
- Prosecutors claim that Olearius, as a key figure in the bank, approved and oversaw the fraudulent trades and signed off on the bank’s false tax returns.
- The trial in Bonn raises questions about Olearius’s connections to Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor and former mayor of Hamburg, although prosecutors have not accused Scholz of any wrongdoing.
- Warburg is accused of deliberately setting up investment funds to exploit tax code loopholes and misleading tax authorities during inspections.
- The case has sparked a political scandal, as leaked diaries reveal meetings between Olearius and Scholz, leading to inquiries about whether the mayor played a role in waiving the tax claim initially.
If convicted on all charges, Olearius could face up to 10 years in prison. The scandal has prompted Warburg to repay €247mn to tax authorities and undergo a restructuring process. The trial highlights the extensive investigations into cum-ex trades and the potential involvement of high-profile individuals in the tax fraud scheme.