Nov 1, 2020
South African Police Probing Ex-Steinhoff CEO Jooste, Times Says
South African authorities have launched a probe into suspected new fraud and money laundering allegations against former Steinhoff International Holdings NV Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste, the Sunday Times reports, citing a police court application.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, an elite crime busting force, applied for access to bank records dating back to between 2000 and 2009 belonging to Jooste’s company, Mayfair Speculators. The police suspect Jooste may have moved huge sums of money from Steinhoff to Mayfair and some of his businesses, the newspaper reports. Jooste didn’t immediately respond to a call and message seeking a comment.
News of the probe comes after the estranged former Steinhoff executive was slapped with a fine of more than 162 million rand ($9.9 million) by a South African regulator for insider trading ahead of the retailer’s near collapse almost three years ago. Jooste sent a text message to four people warning them to sell their stock in the company in the days before it reported accounting irregularities in December 2017, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority said.
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The South African police have hired auditors to examine the movement of money as they seek to build a criminal case, the Sunday Times cited Godfrey Lebeya, the spokesman as saying. “We have divided our team into groupings to go and study the documents for the purpose of criminal investigation,” Lebeya said. “We are not interested in generic auditing of the firm, we want the criminal part of it.”
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