23/12/2017 10:46 SAST | Updated 23/12/2017 10:46 SAST

Dutch Authorities Probing Deloitte Over Steinhoff Debacle

The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) confirms that it's investigating Deloitte's auditing of Steinhoff.

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Deloitte office in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) has opened an investigation in the Netherlands into Deloitte for its role in the audit of embattled retail giant Steinhoff.

Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier in a statement on Friday said he was informed by Martijn Duffels -- a senior supervision officer -- that AFM had launched an investigation into Deloitte amid suspected corruption (popularly referred to as 'accounting irregularities') at the embattled firm.

"We need to know whether Deloitte Accountants BV turned a blind eye to accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International NV," said Maynier.

"In the end, we need to be tough on crime in the public sector, and tough on crime in the private sector, and that is why we will ensure that the accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International Holdings NV, are fully investigated both abroad and in South Africa."

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Steinhoff's share price has plummeted since its former CEO Markus Jooste announced this month the company's audited year-end results had been delayed. Jooste shortly after resigned with immediate effect.

Read: Steinhoff Scandal Points To Major Gaps In Stopping Unethical Corporate Behaviour

The AFM issued a statement on Tuesday, circulated by the DA, in which it confirmed that it was probing into Deliotte:

The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) confirms that it investigates the audits by Deloitte of the financial statements of Steinhoff. Recently international media paid much attention to alleged accounting irregularities at Steinhoff.

The AFM's oversight of audit firms aims at contributing that audit firms increase and sustainably safeguard the quality of statutory audits. It is crucial for a proper functioning of the capital markets that the opinions issued by auditors are free from any doubt.

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The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) announced earlier this month it will commence its investigation into the conduct of Deloitte for the audits of financial years ended 2014 to 2016.

According to eNCA, IRBA's chief executive officer Bernard Agulhas said Deloitte had confirmed it will co-operate fully with the regulator during the investigation.

This entity is audited by Deloitte South Africa, which has confirmed that it will co-operate fully with the IRBA during the investigation.