Hefty fine for Markus Jooste on the horizon as JSE bars him

Joburg’s stock exchange intends to impose a multi-million rand fine on Steinhoff International Holdings NV former Chief Executive Officer, Markus Jooste for rule violations and deceitful statements. He contended the JSE’s findings but his application was dismissed by the tribunal. Despite his fines being drastically cut in December, the JSE persists in its opposition of the reassessment application and anticipates the tribunal’s decision on the ex-CEO’s fines. Find the Bloomberg article below for more on this situation. – Carmen Mileder

South Africa’s bourse seeks to fine Steinhoff’s ex-CEO $880,000

By Janice Kew

Johannesburg’s stock exchange plans to fine Steinhoff International Holdings NV former Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste 15 million rand ($880,000) for violating listing rules and submitting false financial statements.

South Africa’s main stock exchange also barred Jooste from holding an office in a listed company for 20 years, according to a statement Tuesday. The move comes almost five years after the firm’s near collapse and is the second censure of a director at the company after former Chief Financial Officer Ben la Grange was fined 2 million rand. 

Steinhoff lost 98% of its market value after auditors refused to sign off on financial statements in December 2017. Forensic investigators from PwC later confirmed that 6.5 billion euros ($7 billion) in fictitious or irregular income had been recorded at Steinhoff between 2009 and 2016, making it South Africa’s largest known fraud.

Jooste has told the JSE Ltd. that he doesn’t agree with its findings and on Dec. 14 approached the Financial Services Tribunal for an order suspending the JSE’s decisions. While the tribunal has dismissed Jooste application, the payment of the fines are still being reconsidered. 

There are numerous investigations taking place around the world into Steinhoff, which owns Poundland in the UK and part of Mattress Firm in the US and had been Europe’s second-largest furniture retailer after Ikea. Jooste is among four people who will go on trial in Germany next year on charges of accounting fraud.

A fine against Jooste by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority for insider trading was cut in December by almost 90% to 20 million rand. The JSE said it will continue to oppose the reassessment application and awaits the tribunal’s decision over the fines it plans to impose.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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