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Steinhoff report to police is said to include three plus Jooste

Three more as yet unidentified individuals may also be implicated.
Steinhoff International Holdings has provided South African police with information about a set of transactions involving three more former executives who may have contributed to its accounting crisis, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The owner of Conforama in France and Poundland in the UK has already referred ex-chief executive officer Markus Jooste for his role in the scandal, which has wiped 96% off the market value. Now Dirk Schreiber, a German national who was head of finance in Europe, can be added to the list, said the people, asking not to be named because the information is private. Former chief financial officer Ben la Grange and ex-Company Secretary Stehan Grobler complete the quartet, they said.

Details of the four former executives’ alleged involvement in events leading up to a failure to report audited results for 2017 have emerged during an ongoing investigation by PwC, the people said. Three more as-yet-unidentified individuals may also be reported, according to one of the people.

PwC’s forensic report into the accounts is due to be completed by the end of this year. Once the findings of the report are published, formal charges may proceed against anyone implicated in wrongdoing, according to a spokesman for the South African police unit known as the Hawks.

Inflated Profits

Schreiber didn’t respond to requests for comment. Grobler declined to comment on his referral, citing confidentiality agreements. La Grange said he hasn’t been informed that Steinhoff has given his name to the Hawks and so can’t comment. Neither Jooste nor his lawyer responded to a message seeking comment.

Steinhoff said that while it handed a report to the Hawks in August requesting that the police investigate a set of transactions, no complaint was made against any individual.

“Any speculation of the names and the number of names included in the report is just that,” a spokeswoman for Steinhoff said in an emailed response to questions.

While specific details about what caused the crisis have been sparse, Steinhoff has said PwC is particularly focused on certain off-balance-sheet deals and inflated asset values. The company has written off the value of assets by more than $14 billion over the course of the year, while U.S. unit Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy on October 5. To survive, Steinhoff has sold off a slew of assets and restructured its debt.

Jooste quit in December when the shock announcement was made and Schreiber resigned from the boards of two key units in July. While both La Grange and Grobler stepped down from their roles earlier this year, they remained on the pay roll of the South African retailer on short-term consultancy contracts until late August, when their contracts were suspended by the company.

The battle to bring those responsible to justice is playing out against a backdrop of class action law suits in South Africa, Germany and the Netherlands. Steinhoff’s former chairman, the billionaire Christo Wiese, is also suing the retailer for R59 billion ($4 billion).

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Take them to court and throw away the key.

You’ll find they’ll probably climb out of the court windows then, Jooste is rather slippery after all

Remember attending a talk by Markus Jooste at the Rand Club (+-5 years ago). Words he repetitively used were: “loyalty and trust”. Further, he boasted about doing “handshake” agreements/transactions. Further, he criticized investing on the JSE and called it “gambling”. In addition, he stated, that Steinhoff is in the business of building “real” businesses and do not participate in “speculation”. If memory serves me correct, he mentioned that his and most of his fellow directors’ money was invested in Steinhoff. My feeling is, that Markus has billions stashed offshore as most of his money was made “outside” of Steinhoff, using inside information. Suspect, huge CFD positions were taken on all the listed companies that Steinhoff purchased. It will explain the “mind boggling” premiums paid for acquisitions.
Markus Jooste, considered himself a “main man”. I bet that the thing that he will miss most (more than the money and his freedom) is having the admiration of the public, friends and colleagues. I believe a lot of his colleagues including Christo Wiese are innocent of wrong doing. Christo Wiese, however made a huge blunder when he dismissed allegations of wrong doing as “drivel”. If memory serves me correct, most of his directors and middle managers had 80% or more of their wealth invested in Steinhoff.

sorry but I don’t think for one moment Wiese is as saintlike as you think….more suitcase-like. 😉

Lets start placing bets…..I bet the Hawks will knock on Joostes door before the end of the month…..if he have not already pulled a Bobroff??

There is no way Wiese is innocent……

He was paid around Euro 350 million “upfront” in two payments by Steinhoff in Europe for his equity in Shoprite without any documents / agreement…. how is that possible if he knew nothing.

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