South Africa: convicted, billionaire Markus Jooste commits suicide

South Africa: convicted, billionaire Markus Jooste commits suicide

Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste has tragically ended his life, just one day after South Africa's financial sector regulator, the FSCA, fined him a record R475 million.

According to reports confirmed by Western Cape police, Markus Jooste apparently shot himself at around 3:20 p.m. local time in Kwaaiwater, a suburb near the coastal town of Hermanus, near Cape Town. . Colonel Andre Traut, Western Cape police spokesperson, said in a statement that authorities were investigating the circumstances of the incident and no foul play was suspected at this time.

Sources also reported that Jooste committed suicide during his arrest. According to people close to the case cited by the Financial Times, he died from a gunshot wound. Jooste, who played a crucial role in transforming Steinhoff into a multinational retail company, was fined R475 million the day before for accounting fraud.

This conviction follows the revelation of flaws in Steinhoff's accounts in December 2017, leading to a near collapse of the group. The investigation found that Jooste intentionally published false information to mislead investors and lenders, inflating the company's profits through fictitious transactions.

For example, in December 2016, Jooste allegedly implemented transactions without economic substance, thereby inflating Steinhoff Europe's profits by R5.4 billion. These manipulations led to a false impression that Steinhoff's heavy debts were well covered by cash funds, when in reality the actual cash flow was much less.