Markus Jooste a no-show at German court to face the music

File image: Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste. (Photo: INLSA).

File image: Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste. (Photo: INLSA).

Published Apr 19, 2023


The mastermind behind one of the biggest corporate scandals in South Africa’s history, Markus Jooste, the former Steinhoff International Holdings NV boss, was a no-show at his court hearing in Germany.

This comes after the Oldenburg regional court in Germany said in November last year that four people would go on trial over charges of accounting fraud.

German prosecutors called for an arrest warrant for Jooste after he failed to appear in court on Tuesday.

The Oldenburg court has not yet made a decision on the arrest warrant.

Jooste, two former Steinhoff executives, and a fourth accused were charged last year with balance-sheet fraud carried out between July 2011 and January 2015.

The case was split in two to avoid delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jooste is suspected of contravening foreign exchange regulations that saw investors lose more than R200 billion.

Last year, the South African Reserve Bank attached assets belonging to Jooste worth millions of rands.

Jooste is the alleged ringleader in a financial fraud syndicate that saw investors lose more than R200 billion and resulted in the 95% collapse of the share price in 2017.

Apart from Jooste, other respondents in the attachment order were listed as his son Michael, Gary Harlow and Rian du Plessis, who are trustees of the Jooste family trust, Silveroak, his wife, Ingrid, Lanzerac Estate Investments, the Registrar of Deeds in Cape Town and Petrus Albertus Venter.

The financial collapse of Steinhoff saw thousands of local and foreign investors, ranging from small to major shareholders, losing their investments.

In South Africa, these included the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and well-known businessman Christo Wiese.