Three execs in Steinhoff police report
STEINHOFF International has providedSouth African police with informationabout a set of transactionsinvolving three more formerexecutives who may have contributedto its accounting crisis, accordingto two people familiar withthe matter.
The owner of Conforama inFrance and Poundland in the UKhas already referred former CEOMarkus Jooste for his role in thescandal, which has wiped 96% offthe market value. Now DirkSchreiber, a German national whowas head of finance in Europe, canbe added to the list, said the people,asking not to be named becausethe information is private.
Former chief financial officer Benla Grange and former companysecretary Stehan Grobler completethe quartet, they said.
Details of the four former executives’alleged involvement in eventsleading up to a failure to reportaudited results for 2017 haveemerged during an ongoing investigationby PwC, the people said.Three more as-yet-unidentified individualsmay also be reported, accordingto one of the people.
PwC’s forensic report into theaccounts is due to be completedby the end of this year. Once thefindings of the report are published,formal charges may proceedagainst anyone implicated inwrongdoing, according to a spokespersonfor the Hawks.
Schreiber didn’t respond to requestsfor comment. Grobler declinedto comment on his referral,citing confidentiality agreements.La Grange said he hasn’t been informedthat Steinhoff has givenhis name to the Hawks and socan’t comment. Neither Jooste norhis lawyer responded to a messageseeking comment.
Steinhoff said that while ithanded a report to the Hawks inAugust requesting that the policeinvestigate a set of transactions,no complaint was made againstany individual.
“Any speculation of the namesand the number of names includedin the report is just that,” aspokesperson for Steinhoff said inan e-mailed response to questions.
While specific details aboutwhat caused the crisis have beensparse, Steinhoff has said PwC isparticularly focused on certain offbalance-sheetdeals and inflatedasset values. The company haswritten off the value of assets bymore than $14 billion over thecourse of the year, while U.S. unitMattress Firm filed for bankruptcyon October 5.