Markus Jooste loses appeal over German arrest warrant

Markus Jooste

Markus Jooste, former chief executive officer of scandal-ridden retailer Steinhoff, lost an appeal against the arrest warrant issued by a German court after he failed to show up for trial in the country.

The Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg rejected his challenge on Monday, a tribunal spokeswoman said by phone. Prosecutors had asked for an arrest warrant when Jooste didn’t show up for his trial in April.

Bernd Gross, Jooste’s German lawyer, didn’t reply to an email seeking comment.

Gross told the court in April that Jooste was unable to travel because he didn’t have access to his passport under an arrangement with South African authorities. Jooste is facing much bigger probes and allegations there than in Germany, the lawyer said at the time.

Steinhoff has been battling to stay afloat for more than five years since auditors refused to sign off on its accounts.

This prompted Jooste to resign and caused a dramatic share-price collapse as well as criminal and regulatory investigations in both Europe and South Africa.

The judicial authorities in Oldenburg could now seek his extradition from South Africa or ask Interpol for help in the case.