Jooste was a director at Mayfair Speculators. Photo: File
DURBAN - Absa Bank has applied for the liquidation of Mayfair Speculators, a company belonging to former Steinhoff CEO, Markus Jooste.

The company, until this week, owned South Africa's best racehorse and hundreds of other racehorses as well as a property portfolio and a portion of Steinhoff shares.

Racing is Jooste's passion and he was a regular at racing sales. In September, Mayfield (in different partnerships) acquired nine yearlings at the yearly yearling sale in County Kildare in Ireland for a collective amount of €2.3 million

Absa has demanded a probe into a dubious transaction that saw Mayfair transfer R1,5 billion of assets to its holding company in August this past year.

This transfer took place just months before serious financial irregularities hit the headlines, resulting in one of the biggest corporate implosions in South Africa.

Absa says it is "highly probable" that Jooste was knowledgeable of the impending uncovering of the financial irregularities, which he later to the blame for. This could have prompted the transaction.

Manager-Magazin, a German magazine, reported on 25 August that Jooste and other senior Steinhoff staff employees were being looked into by the German authorities for possible accounting fraud. Steinhoff has firmly denied these allegations.

The hearing for the liquidation will take place on Friday and Mayfair has not yet filed any papers in response. Mayfair Speculators is a completely owned subsidiary of Mayfair Holdings. The only active director is Jooste' son-in-law Stefan Potgieter after Jooste resigned as a director on December 7, 2017.

Jooste also recently vacated the post of director of Cape Thoroughbred Sales (CTS) and are in the process of exiting their shareholdings in CTS.

In an affidavit, Hester van Niekerk, an Absa manager stated that Absa provided an R350 million overdraft facility and bank guarantees to Mayfair Speculators in December last year.

This was guaranteed by 11,2 million Steinhoff shares held by SBG. At the time, the Steinhoff share price was R71 and the shares were worth R800 million. Van Niekerk also stated that an extra 3.2 million shares were transferred to SBG on August 18 this year to raise the total holding to just under 15 million shares, valued at an estimated R936 million at the time.

In the affidavit, van Niekerk, says that Mayfair got rid of R1,5 billion of its assets while Jooste was a director of the company. "It seems highly probable that Jooste was aware that the financial irregularities and fraudulent transactions (at Steinhoff) would be uncovered in the near future, which explains the declaration of a dividend in specie in the sum of approximately R1.5 billion.

Moneyweb has since learned that Jooste and companies connected to him are selling various properties in Hermanus, Stellenbosch, and Val DeVie in Paarl.