South Africa

Ex-Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste has died – report

Markus Jooste, the disgraced former CEO of Steinhoff International, reportedly died by suicide on Thursday evening.

This is according to reports by News24 and Newzroom Afrika.

News24 first broke the news that Joose had died, with sources in Hermanus confirming his death. They also allege Jooste took his own life while being arrested.

This comes just a day after the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) imposed a hefty R475 million fine on Jooste for his central role in the accounting scandal that brought Steinhoff to its knees.

Jooste, along with several other directors, faced accusations of orchestrating a massive fraud that ultimately led to the company’s collapse.

Investigations into Steinhoff revealed a web of deceit involving inflated profits and asset values. The company was forced to firefight, selling off assets and scrambling to compensate billions lost by investors.

The FSCA specifically targeted Jooste with insider trading charges, alleging he tipped off executives to sell their shares before the company’s inevitable downfall.

It found on 19 March 2024 that Jooste – Steinhoff International’s former CEO – and Dirk Schreiber – Steinhoff Europe’s former CFO – contravened the Financial Markets Act.

This was during the period of 2014 to 2016, and Jooste also contravened the relevant sections for the 2017 half-year. Steinhoff’s securities were listed on the JSE and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange during this period.

Jooste received an administrative penalty of R475 million – including R10 million in investigative costs – payable in 30 days from 19 March 2024.

However, the FSCA entered into a leniency agreement with Schrieber due to his cooperation with the investigations and did not impose a penalty on him.

The FSCA’s investigation found that Jooste and Schreiber knowingly made false, deceptive and misleading claims about Steinhoff’s financial position.

Jooste’s reported suicide has cast a long shadow over South Africa’s corporate landscape. He was once a titan of industry, but his legacy is now forever tarnished by the Steinhoff scandal.

Details surrounding his death remain unclear.


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