The former Steinhoff chief executive officer, Markus Jooste, was a no show in a Pretoria court on Tuesday as his legal team argued against a reduced R20 million administrative penalty for insider trading.
The embattled former CEO’s legal team said that Jooste is unemployed and has a lack of income in a bid to reduce the penalty.
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.
This comes after Jooste was hit with an arrest warrant from a German court in June this year.
The Regional Court of Oldenburg had issued the warrant.
A spokesperson for the court said prosecutors had called for Jooste’s arrest in April after he failed to appear in court for his trial.
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.
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.