WRAP: Jooste washes hands of Steinhoff collapse

05 Sep 21:15

Analysing former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste's first public utterances since his former company's near-collapse nine months ago to the day.


‘It wasn’t me’ – decoding former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste

ANALYSIS: Steinhoff's Markus Jooste's three-tiered defence

05 Sep 21:11

Analysing former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste's first public utterances since his former company's near-collapse nine months ago to the day.


‘It wasn’t me’ – decoding former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste

ANALYSIS: Steinhoff's Markus Jooste's three-tiered defence

05 Sep 12:25

Jooste blames businessman Seifert for Steinhoff accounting probe

Jooste detailed the strategic partnership with Dr Andreas Seifert, which started when the MoU was signed in 2007.

Seifert owned a large mass discount retail chain which operated in Germany and Austria and in also smaller Eastern European companies. At the time Steinhoff had an investment in Poco, in Germany. The two businesses merged through the 50:50 joint venture, he explained.

In 2011, they bought Conforama but Seifert did not have his 50% for the acquisition, which Jooste viewed as a cashflow problem and not an "integrity issue".

Then Seifert pushed for the Kika/Leiner acquisition, Kika/Leiner was Seifert's biggest competitor in Austria. This transaction raised red flags, when again it appeared Seifert would not be able to bring his share, Jooste explained.

This led to a fallout in November 2014. The relationship with Seifert was terminated in January 2015, on legal advice.

After that the litigation against Steinhoff commenced, as did the allegations of accounting irregularities, Jooste pointed out.

One case is still open in Vienna, over a dispute about a shortfall related to the  Conforama acquisition, Jooste said.  Jooste told MPs that in a hearing at a court in Vienna it appeared, in retrospect that Seifert had no intentions on paying for any acquisition that was proposed. "That was part of the fight and the litigation that was going on at the time," he said. 

Jooste added that the "interim remarks" by the judge in Vienna confirmed the "feeling" Steinhoff had about the matter.

Steinhoff to sell remaining interests in POCO for R4.7bn
05 Sep 12:08 WATCH: Jooste's testimony before Parliament
05 Sep 12:06

Steinhoff biggest corporate failure of SA - Jooste

Jooste said that Steinhoff is the biggest corporate failure in SA, and not the biggest corporate scandal, as suggested by Scof chair Yunus Carrim.

Carrim said that Jooste painted himself as the "Mother Theresa" of Steinhoff.

“The word scandal is for writers of sensation," said Jooste.

He added that it is saddening that people lost money, but Steinhoff managed to mitigate job losses.

He explained that the fall in the share price was due to the delay in the release of the financial statements, which created uncertainty to which markets reacted. 

He also explained that Steinhoff's failure is not due to its multi-lateral structure, but rather his decision to enter into a Joint Venture with Andreas Seifert in 2007.

05 Sep 11:58

Steinhoff had a buying group - Jooste

Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste confirmed that Steinhoff had several buying groups around the world. Supporting former CFO Ben La Grange's testimony last week.

Jooste said that the buying groups were audited and were also part of an investigation by a German legal firms. 

#Steinhoff: Seven things you need to know from La Grange's testimony
05 Sep 11:54

Steinhoff's audit processes were professional

"I am satisfied in my personal opinion that the audit processes were professional," Jooste told MPs. The former Steinhoff CEO steered clear of criticising the audt processes of the retailer.

He would not be drawn in to blame anyone for Steinhoff's downfall. 

"I did not come here to blame anybody I personally believe all the colleagues I worked with worked in the best interests of the company. They gave their lives, it was part of the daily DNA of the business."

Jooste said that everyone was dedicated to grow the business, make it successful and create employment and to "enjoy it".

"I do not blame anyone for what happened at Steinhoff."

Jooste would not comment on events which took place after December 4, as he was on his way out from the company. He said that he could not comment on the PwC investigation either until the report is released at the end of the year.  This investigation will also inform the recourse that investors will take, he explained.

He added that investors are well within their rights to take on civil claims. 

05 Sep 11:46

Steinhoff cut off communication with Jooste

Jooste said that Steinhoff cut off all communication with him since his resignation, emphasising his earlier statement that he has not been in contact with the firm since December.

"Steinhoff ceased at that stage all communication with me... I was informed and understood no one at Steinhoff had to have further communication or discussion with me."

Jooste confirmed that he was interviewed by the Financial Services Board and that he and his legal team have been available to assist the Hawks in their investigation.

He added that he had no more documents to submit, the day he left Steinhoff he lost his telephone contacts, emails and other records. 

05 Sep 11:27

Jooste family trust held R3bn in Steinhoff shares on day of fallout

On the day of the Steinhoff share price fallout, Jooste's family trust which has an investment company Mayfair, lost R3bn. The company held 68 million Steinhoff shares.

Jooste said it is public knowledge that Mayfair made a settlement with banks to avoid a default. The Steinhoff shares were to be used as collateral for the loans.

The shares were sold. "The investment company has no more Steinhoff shares left," he told MPs.

Parties to meet as Markus Jooste's Mayfair aims to 'offload' Lodestone stake
05 Sep 11:19

FIRST PICS: Steinhoff's Markus Jooste briefs Parliament

Markus Jooste and his lawyer Francois van Zyl SC, wait for proceedings to start on September 5 in Parliament. (Supplied)

05 Sep 11:03 Steinhoff shares are currently trading up 3.82% at R2.72, a far cry from it's 52-week high of R66.25.
05 Sep 10:56

Maynier drops F-bomb

DA MP David Maynier, citing a quote from an associate of Jooste who labeled the former CEO as an [Expletive] psychopath.

Scof chair Yunus Carrim reins maynier him and asks him to "cut the melodrama" and "ask the question".

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