Ex-Steinhoff CEO hit by arrest warrant after trial no-show
A German court issued an arrest warrant for Markus Jooste, former chief executive officer of scandal-ridden retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV, after he failed to show up for trial in the country.
The Regional Court of Oldenburg issued the warrant about two weeks ago, a spokesman for the tribunal said on Wednesday. Prosecutors had asked for the order in April when Jooste was a no-show for his trial in that city.
Bernd Gross, Jooste’s German lawyer, said the ruling is “totally incomprehensible” and he will challenge it. His client has always cooperated with the German authorities and will continue to do so, the attorney added.
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, 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 executive was charged in Germany and the trial was scheduled to start April 18 but couldn’t continue due to Jooste’s no-show. DM