A German court is assessing whether it can convict former Steinhoff chief executive Markus Jooste before the main trial starts, says a report. Picture: Henk Kruger, African News Agency (ANA)
A German court is assessing whether it can convict former Steinhoff chief executive Markus Jooste before the main trial starts, says a report. Picture: Henk Kruger, African News Agency (ANA)

German court assessing whether to convict Markus Jooste before trial

By BR Reporter Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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A German court is assessing whether it can convict former Steinhoff chief executive Markus Jooste before the main trial starts, according to a report on Fin24.

The publication said Zwischenverfahren was a process whereby a court assessed its chances of conviction before the main trial began.

During the process, the court reviewed the prosecutor’s case and decided whether to start the trial.

South African law does not have this process.

Last month, German authorities announced that three former Steinhoff executives and an outsider would be charged for balance sheet manipulation of more than €2.3 billion between July 2011 and January 2015.

The authorities refused to identify the individuals, but former Steinhoff chief executive Jooste’s name has been bandied about as one of those who could face charges.

In 2015, German authorities raided the offices of one of Steinhoff’s subsidiaries before the retailer’s listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority hit Jooste with R161.57 million for insider trading in October last year, but the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have yet to lay criminal charges against the individuals.

Meanwhile, the NPA was criticised for its slow pace in prosecuting the case. The criticism escalated when the German authorities announced that they would bring charges against three executives of the furniture company.

The NPA came under fire for accepting funds from Steinhoff for its investigation into the company.

Political party Economic Freedom Fighters condemned the NPA, citing a conflict of interest.

The NPA broke its silence, announcing that while it supported the forensic probe into furniture retailer Steinhoff it had not received funds for the investigation.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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