Ausstellung: Rudolf Schmenger (EN)

Rudolf Schmenger

   former tax investigator (Frankfurt/ M)     

„The violation of professional standards in the preparation of a neurological, medical opinion ‚ of the accused took place intentionally due to the opinion of the court.“

On the 31st of July 2006 tax inspector Rudolf Schmenger was diagnosed as permanently disabled and partially disabled by the psychiatrist and neurologist Dr. med. Thomas Holzmann. He was diagnosed with „definite“ irreversible „paranoid trouble making development“ and lack of insight into the disease. On December 19 2006, Schmenger was sent to retirement against his will by the regional tax office of Frankfurt / Main in the name of the Ministry of Finance of Hessen. Later on, three other of Schmengers colleagues were also forced to retire. In each case this was possibly due to the technically inadequate report of Dr. Thomas Holzmann.

Only a few months after being sent to his retirement Rudolf Schmenger undergoes another medical examination with a university psychiatric assessment in order to be able to become a tax accountant. This examination confirmed his full mental health. As a result Schmenger shows the outcome of the evaluation conducted by Dr. Holzmann to the Human Rights Commissioner at the State Medical Association of Hessen. After reviewing the documents, the commissioner suspects the psychiatrist to have created a „courtesy report“.

But why did this happen? Was there one or more influential persons in the business or political environment of Schmenger and his colleagues who were driven to get rid of Schmenger, whatever the cost?

Schmenger was a tax investigator at the financial centre Frankfurt / Main. A „bank team“ of the tax investigation of the Tax Office Ffm V and was appointed to investigate several major banks until early 2001. The investigators uncovered among other things cases in which banks had transferred their clients` money as collective funds anonymously to places they did not have to pay a withholding tax on their interest amount. The work of their team led to significant savings, in one single case in 1996 to the payment of evasion rates and taxes by a bank of more than 260 million DM.
In this occupation it is not surprising that powerful enemies are created.
Then came the affair with the official instructions. In 2001 the infamous offical disposal 2001/18 was issued in Hessen. For reasons the investigators are not told, to follow this disposal means that an „initial suspicion“ for criminal tax investigation can be granted only in special and limited cases. The investigators, among them Rudolf Schmenger foresee that public budgets will lose significant tax demands against tax evaders. They cannot overcome the suspicion that major tax cheaters were being favoured by means of office disposals. Whether it is to protect certain persons or parties or to promote „site policy „ to favour of the financial centre Frankfurt / Main … Karlheinz Weimar, minister of finance at the time, still distances himself from these suspicions.

One my believe him or not. The Flick affair lit up the political dimensions of corruption in conjunctions with big money in the 1980s. It threw a spotlight on the leaders of parties and ministries, on actors in the forefront of the political class. It was not about the protagonists having lined their own pockets back then. It was about party political manners and political careers, about rising and maintaining power, about patronage and male bonding, social status, influence and good prospects for life after politics.
Schmenger does not simply follow the official instructions of their tax office manager without further question. He remonstrates and tries to convince his superiors that something is wrong. He turns to parliament and state government for help. He does not give in.

Finally, the tax inspectors are about to be brought to their senses and at the same time an example is about to be made. As Schmenger finds out in an inspection of files he conducts later on, a secret personnel file about him is coming to light by chance. Included is a fax from the office of the superintendent to the OFD dated November 12 2002 which states:
„… From my point of view the administration must therefore find a solution in the personnel matter Schmenger to support the dedicated and energetic SGLin Steufa, the HSGL Steufa and me as a FAV (tax office head-d.Red.). In addition to that, the signals we have to find leading to a solution and pointing into the direction of the investigators should not be underestimated“.

The unsuitable try to psychiatrise the critical tax inspectors that Schmenger found out about only due to his stubbornness, brings this case media attention, public outrage and overdue parliamentary attention.

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 Foto: (c) Petrov Ahner   –   Text: (c) Annegret Falter – WBNW e.V.
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