Steinhoff Names Ex-CEO Among Those Behind Questionable Deals

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(Bloomberg) — Steinhoff International Holdings NV identified eight people, including former Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste, as those allegedly behind questionable transactions that brought the global retailer to near collapse.

  • The company’s executives were compelled by a South African parliamentary committee to release the names even as Chairwoman Heather Sonn and Chief Executive Officer Louis du Preez warned it could jeopardize investigations and break European privacy laws.
  • Jooste’s mobile phone went straight to voicemail when called for comment and he didn’t immediately respond to a text message.

Key Insights

  • The Steinhoff directors were updating South Africa’s parliament after the company Friday released a summary of a long-awaited probe into an accounting scandal that almost destroyed the retailer in late 2017. Representatives of regulators and a local anti-graft police unit also appeared.
  • The owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the U.S. said it remains in a “precarious position.”
  • With about 100 auditors at PwC having labored on the report for well over a year, the company said it plans to dig deeper into the accounting misdeeds as it seeks to get to the bottom of some $7.4 billion in fictitious or improper deals. Steinhoff is now proceeding with preparing its 2017 and 2018 audited earnings, due next month.
  • Steinhoff’s over-arching objective is to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted, Sonn told lawwmakers.

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