NEPI Rockcastle logo. PHOTO: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – JSE-listed real estate investment firm, NEPI Rockcastle, continued on Thursday refuting allegations of hoodwinking investors made by American short-sellers, Viceroy Research, and called on the Financial Sector Conduct Authority to conduct an investigation into Viceroy. 

NEPI Rockcastle's stock tumbled on Wednesday when Viceroy published a report alleging that an investigation int the affairs of one of the largest real-estate in eastern Europe has uncovered numerous inconsistencies within NEPI Rockcastle’s financial reporting and major links to an established financial fraud.

Viceroy is no stranger to controversy after claiming in February that Capitec Bank was a loan shark and that its loan book was understated. 

In this instance, Viceroy alleged that NEPI Rockcastle had irreconcilable international earnings, had enriched management through mergers and acquisitions, and had hoodwinked investors through misleading analysis via rejection of independent investigation.

In response, NEPI Rockcastle said the Viceroy report contained material errors, was built on incorrect assumptions, made unsubstantiated claims, and was grossly misleading. 

The real estate portfolio said it was clear that the issuance of the Viceroy report sought to materially impact NEPI Rockcastle and its stakeholders. 

NEPI Rockcastle stakeholders are accordingly advised to consider the company’s response to the report as contained in this announcement and act prudently when reacting to the allegations set out in the Report. 

"In addition, the company echoes the February 2018 request of South African National Treasury, made following Viceroy's report on Capitec Bank, that the Financial Sector Conduct Authority urgently consider whether it should initiate a market abuse investigation into the conduct of Viceroy, and to alert relevant overseas regulators to consider whether Viceroy is regulated appropriately and operating in line with their market conduct and market abuse laws," NEPI said. 

"In this regard and to facilitate proper investigation, the Company considers it appropriate that Viceroy and its associates declare any trading positions they may have in NEPI Rockcastle as at the date the report was issued." 

NEPI Rockcastle's management will hold an open investor call at 4pm on Thursday to ally the fears in the market.

African News Agency (ANA)