Markus Jooste’s death won’t have an impact on Steinhoff investigation – FSCA

The passing of former Steinhoff boss Markus Jooste will not have an impact on the ongoing investigation relating to fraud and misrepresentation at the erstwhile JSE-listed retailer, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) said on Friday.

“The investigation will continue as there are other investigated parties involved. The Authority will also continue to assist the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] with any investigations they may have underway,” the financial services watchdog noted in a statement.

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Read: Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste has died

The FSCA’s latest statement came a day after Jooste, who faced multiple charges of fraud and racketeering and hefty fines from the JSE and the FSCA for financial misconduct, fatally shot himself on Thursday (21 March) in the coastal town of Hermanus in the Western Cape.

Jooste’s untimely death raised concerns over how market conduct authorities and law enforcement entities would continue with the investigation, which now spans more than five years.

“As the penalty on the late Mr Jooste in his personal capacity was already imposed at the time of his death, his passing does not impact on the penalty,” the FSCA said.

“The FSCA is legally entitled to recover the penalty from the estate of the late Mr Jooste. Whether the Authority will claim against the estate will be decided at the appropriate time, taking into account all the relevant circumstances,” it added.

Read: Markus Jooste slapped with a R475m fine for Steinhoff misconduct

The watchdog said that it is continuing with further investigations into similar contraventions of Section 81(1)(a) and (b) of the Financial Markets Act by other individuals.

A day before his death, the FSCA issued Jooste with a penalty of R475 million, following an investigation into his and business associate Dirk Schreiber’s conduct at Steinhoff.

The FSCA found that the two made or published false, misleading, or deceptive statements about Steinhoff International Holdings Limited and Steinhoff International Holdings NV, which they knew or ought reasonably to have known were false, misleading, or deceptive.

They were found guilty of various contraventions of the FMA, regarding annual financial statements and annual reports for the 2014 to 2016 financial years, and the 2017 half year.

Arrest warrant

Meanwhile, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and the NPA confirmed in a statement on Friday that an arrest warrant was issued against the late Jooste, as well as Stéhan Grobler, who worked as a director of legal affairs at the group.

Grobler has since handed himself over to the police.

Apart from the contraventions of the FMA, charges of fraud, and a pattern of racketeering activities are levelled against Jooste and Grobler. Grobler appeared in court on Friday on the charges.

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The duo were expected to hand themselves over at Pretoria Central Police Station and then appear in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Friday. After being notified of the arrest warrants, Jooste allegedly took his own life on Thursday afternoon.

Read:


Steinhoff: Wiese and Schreiber to be sheltered


JSE’s censure and R15m fine against Jooste stands


Markus Jooste penalised R20m by the FSCA

Revelations of an accounting scandal at Steinhoff came to light in December 2017, which saw the company’s share price collapse and investors incurring losses of billions of rands.

The FSCA penalty was the latest in several fines that had been imposed on Jooste. In October 2023, another regulatory body, the Financial Services Tribunal (FST) upheld the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) decision to impose a public censure and R15 million penalty against Jooste for his failure to adhere to the bourse’s listing requirements.

Over and above the fine, Jooste was also barred from being a director of a listed company for 20 years.

In August 2023, the Oldenburg court in Germany handed Schreiber a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for his role in the Steinhoff saga.

Schreiber claimed he knew about the fraudulent deals at Steinhoff and offered to give German prosecutors more information to assist with the investigation.

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William Murphy

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