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SCORPIO NEWSFLASH

Ex-Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste’s asset billions attached by SA Reserve Bank

Ex-Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste’s asset billions attached by SA Reserve Bank
Disgraced former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste. (Photo: Gallo Images / Financial Mail / Jeremy Glyn) | Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / ER Lombard)

The South African Reserve Bank is in the process of attaching all assets linked to former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste.

Billions of rands in assets linked to Markus Jooste – including his house in Voëlklip, Hermanus; the Stellenbosch wine farm Lanzerac; as well as assets held by the Silveroak Trust – were attached by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) on Tuesday afternoon.

Scorpio can confirm an SARB team arrived at Lanzerac just after 15:00 on 18 October.

Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa. (Photo: Supplied)

This follows the Western Cape High Court granting the SARB an ex parte application last week to attach all assets linked to Markus Jooste.

Jooste’s son Michael, Gary Harlow and Rian du Plessis, as the trustees of the Jooste family trust, Silveroak, are the first, second and third respondents.

Jooste and his wife Ingrid are respondents four and five. Lanzerac Estate Investments, the Registrar of Deeds in Cape Town and Petrus Albertus Venter are respondents six, seven and eight.

Jooste and the other respondents are suspected of having contravened exchange control regulations, according to the preservation order documents.

The assets attached include about R1.4-billion worth of art; financial assets and loans receivable held by Silveroak Trust; Jooste’s property in Voëlklip, Hermanus; as well as Lanzerac wine farm in Stellenbosch.

Graffiti on Markus Jooste’s Hermanus house, 19 March 2019. (Photo: Twitter / @Gina_and_tonic)

The SARB argues that five cars registered to Ingrid Jooste and Petrus Albertus Venter are ultimately linked to Jooste. The cars, along with personal belongings linked to Jooste, including about R800.000 in art, jewellery and firearms, were attached under the preservation order.

In a separate application brought before the Western Cape High Court and executed last year, SARB investigators blocked the assets and bank accounts of Berdine Odendaal, who is said to have been in a romantic partnership with Jooste. This includes 11 pieces of land at Val de Vie, Paarl.

The attachment order includes all digital and hard copy documents.

This development follows Jooste’s role in perhaps the largest corporate scandal in South African history.

Indications of alleged financial misconduct at the Steinhof group first surfaced in December 2017.

This promptly saw the company’s share price on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) take a cataclysmic 95% dip in value.

In the process, investors — ranging from small retail investors to major shareholders like the Government Employees’ Pension Fund (GEPF) and billionaire businessman Christo Wiese — collectively lost more than R200-billion.

A forensic investigation by auditing firm PwC later determined that the alleged accounting fraud and other improprieties at Steinhoff had occurred over several years, between 2009 and 2017.

Read on Daily Maverick: ‘Steinheist’ – Scrutinising and dramatising South Africa’s biggest corporate scam

A key finding by PwC revealed that the value of Steinhoff’s profits and assets had been artificially inflated by means of “fictitious and/or irregular transactions”, according to a summary of the forensic report.

The value of these allegedly fraudulent activities exceeded R100-billion, PwC had established.

This is a developing story.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    It’s about time. Hope he is being jailed soon too.

  • Johan Buys says:

    side-bet : Jooste does not live to face the music. One consolation is that everybody knows he is a crook now for 5 years. His family, his friends, his domestic helpers, his pets, the people he drives past. and he knows that everybody knows. He is already serving a (luxurious) sentence, much like former prisoner Zuma in his mansion.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    They must have watched Showmax last week.

  • Johann Olivier says:

    One down. How is it possible that so many other bigger fish are still living comfortably with their stolen assets? It is fantastic that these corporate raiders are being held accountable. It would be so nice if the political kleptocrats could also be brought to justice.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Easy come,easy go……hopefully this will be a lesson to all. However, my question still is “where are the Guptas and why have their assets not been seized?” You can’t convict Jooste and let the Guptas go free – that would be racist and prove that the politically connected are connected to the theft of tax payers efforts! You can run but you can’t hide!

  • Matsobane Monama says:

    Truth is the private sector is as equally corrupt as politicians. Almost all of the ANC top brass were given shares worth millions by the corporate sector.

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    It seems that Leticia James in New York has disclosed that Trump used the same tactics ‘artificially inflating the value of his assets’ in all his business dealings ! Seems like it is a world wide ‘scam’ that many ‘highly’ placed individuals deploy in their operations . Wonder when the Zuckerberg’s and Musk’s of the world are found to be in the same boat ? Maybe it is the ‘systems’ they operate in, that makes it possible … nay maybe even desirable ? How else would their exponentially exploding ‘wealth’ (disease?) be accumulated … and with it … their shareholders’ also !

  • Colleen Dardagan says:

    When is this chap going to jail?

  • Matsobane Monama says:

    2 must read books Predator Nation corporate criminals, political corruption, and the hijacking of America by Charles Ferguson. Confessions of an Economic hit man by John Perkins( destruction of developing countries in the name of FDI)

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