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Poundland owner’s ex-boss found dead of gunshot wound in South Africa, reports say | Business News


The former chief executive of South African multinational retailer Steinhoff was told he would be arrested shortly before he was found fatally injured, police have said.

South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority fined Markus Jooste almost £20m on Wednesday for false accounting – the same day a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was expected to hand himself in, along with former colleague Stephanus Grobler, who was also subject to a warrant, and appear in court on Friday.

“The allegations include, among others, fraud, a pattern of racketeering activities and contravention of Financial Markets Act against Steinhoff International Holdings,” police said.

People gather at the scene where former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste apparently shot himself, according to the police, at Kwaaiwater, in Hermanus.
Pic: Reuters
The scene where Jooste apparently shot himself. Pic: Reuters

But Jooste, 63, did not appear in court.

He was, instead, found on Thursday on a rugged stretch of coastline at Kwaaiwater, a suburb of Hermanus, near Cape Town.

He reportedly had a gunshot wound and police said he died on the way to hospital.

The case is being investigated but there are no suspicious circumstances, police said.

Jooste played a major part in transforming Steinhoff from a small Johannesburg furniture business into a multinational retailer.

But holes in its accounting came to light the same month Jooste left the company, in December 2017.

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Although he said he was not aware of any accounting irregularities at the time, he was fined by the FSCA for publishing false and misleading annual financial statements and reports in the 2014-16 years and the 2017 half-year.

The accounting scandal almost brought down the group, which owns Poundland, along with South African and European discount retailers Pepkor and Pepco, and it has endured big losses and a number of lawsuits since then.

The FSCA said Jooste’s death would not affect its investigation into the company, adding it is legally entitled to recover the fine from his estate.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. Alternatively, letters can be mailed to: Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS.

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