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FILE PHOTO: Steinhoff's former Chief Executive Markus Jooste appears in parliament to face a panel investigating an accounting scandal that rocked the retailer in Cape Town, South Africa, September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

South Africa regulator fines former Steinhoff chief for accounting fraud

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South Africa’s financial regulator levied a penalty of approximately 25 million U.S. dollars against former Steinhoff International CEO,  Markus Jooste following an extensive investigation.

Steinhoff was a multinational holding company dual-listed in South Africa and Germany. It was rocked by an accounting scandal in 2017, with audit firm Deloitte confirming the accounting irregularities. The company was officially liquidated in October 2023.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) said in a statement that Jooste, alongside Dirk Schriber “made or published false, misleading or deceptive statements about Steinhoff”.

These statements, which either contained misleading information or omitted material facts, were deemed to have been made with knowledge or should have been reasonably known to be inaccurate.

The FSCA’s findings identified violations of section 81(1)(a) and (b) of the Financial Markets Act, 19 of 2012 (FMA), by Jooste and Schreiber.

These contraventions primarily pertained to the annual financial statements and reports of Steinhoff International Holdings Ltd and Steinhoff International Holdings NV for the fiscal years spanning from 2014 to 2016 and for the first half of 2017.

The Steinhoff International securities were listed on the JSE and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange during this period.

Steinhoff suffered hefty losses and a stream of lawsuits since revealing holes in its accounts in December 2017.

Jooste resigned and was later referred by Steinhoff to South Africa’s anti-corruption police.

(With input from wires)

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