JOHANNESBURG - Former Steinhoff Chief Executive Markus Jooste and seven others were involved in a 6.5 billion euro ($7.4 billion - R105.77bn ) accounting fraud at the South African retailer, the new CEO said told lawmakers on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Steinhoff said on Friday an independent report had found it overstated profits over several years in the fraud that involved a small group of top executives and outsiders. PwC conducted the independent investigation. The company did not name the individuals last week, citing legal reasons. But during Tuesday’s session in parliament South African lawmakers instructed Louis du Preez, who was appointed CEO last year, to reveal those involved.
Reuters reported that Du Preez named former CEO Jooste and former Chief Financial Officer Ben la Grange, alongside six other people, who he said had inflated Steinhoff profits and asset values over several years. Reuters also reported that Jooste, who resigned hours before Steinhoff disclosed the hole in its accounts in December 2017, could not be reached for comment through his lawyer. He has previously denied any wrong doing.
The group, whose shares fell by 5.64 percent to R1.84 on the JSE on Friday, said it was planning to recover more than R130 million in bonuses paid to former chief executive Markus Jooste over irregular dealings that continue to unravel the group.
On Friday, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released the damning report that pointed to Jooste and other directors who, it said, recorded income from fictitious and/or irregular transactions between the 2009 financial year and 2017.
PwC said the fraud saw the group’s profits inflated by e6.5bn (R105.77bn).
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE / REUTERS