Markus Jooste conspired with other Steinhoff execs – report
The owner of Mattress Firm in the US, Poundland in the UK and France’s Conforama said on Wednesday that PwC’s probe, commissioned in December, is focusing on off-balance-sheet structures and deals, particularly related to the central European businesses.
It’s likely to find that some assets, revenue and profit figures have been overstated, chairperson Heather Sonn said. Steinhoff has said it’s looking to restate accounts dating back to at least 2015, and hasn’t reported financials for the last fiscal year.
Steinhoff has sent information received from German media enquiries to PwC “to ensure that the subject matter forms part of the investigation”, a spokesperson said in an emailed response to questions. “Until PwC makes any findings in regard to this information, we are not in a position to engage in speculation about what their findings will be.”
Callie Albertyn, Jooste’s lawyer at Cape Town-based De Klerk and Van Gend, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Sueddeutsche said Jooste didn’t comment.
According to the newspaper, the ex-CEO told one of his managers to add an additional €100m (R1.45bn) of revenue from a subsidiary to help inflate the company’s reported profit. In a separate email, the then-CEO referred to a need to “clean up the past”, the newspaper said.
Steinhoff shares crashed almost 90% in December after the company reported the wrongdoing without giving detail. It’s reviewing the validity and recoverability of assets worth about €6bn, and may need to take impairments over and above that, it said on Wednesday.
The company moved its primary listing to Frankfurt from Johannesburg in 2015 and is registered in Amsterdam.
The stock slumped 12% to €0.36 as of 17:00 in Frankfurt. Similarly, the JSE price dropped 12% to close at R5.10.
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