Cape Town — In what is considered the biggest corruption case in the history of South Africa, furniture giant Steinhoff is alleged to have misrepresented its balance sheets to shareholders for a number of years – a discovery that led to the hasty exit of its CEO Markus Jooste on December 5, 2017. The scandal saw a 90% drop in the firm’s share price.
After years of legal wrangling, the South African Reserve Bank on October 18, 2022 finally swooped on assets belonging to Jooste, Eye Witness News reports.
Among the attached assets are the Lanzarac Wine Farm in Stellenbosch – swapped by its former owner, billionaire Christo Wiese, for shares in Steinhoff that proved to next to worthless, and a huge residence in the seaside town of Hermanus. Luxury vehicles, artwork and jewelry has also been seized.
Jooste was also slapped with a hefty fine for insider trading when he warned a friend a day before the Steinhoff saga was exposed, to sell his shares. The South African government convened several inquiries into Steinhoff. Many pension fund managers had invested in the firm, losing their members’ pensions.
In 2021, German prosecutors completed their criminal investigation into balance sheet manipulation at Steinhoff, which had a primary listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The company was delisted from the exchange on April 29, 2022.
This is a developing story