NEWS
02/07/2018 10:15 SAST | Updated 02/07/2018 10:15 SAST

Steinhoff International Under Investigation By The Hawks – Cele

Steinhoff is being investigated for forgery, extortion, and theft.

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Steinhoff International is under investigation by The Hawks, according to Business Report. It says three cases have been opened against Steinhoff and its subsidiaries, following the group's admission of so-called accounting irregularities last year.

A member of Steinhoff's supervisory board, Steve Booysen, reported Steinhoff's former CEO Markus Jooste to the Hawks in January.

According to Business Report, police minister Bheki Cele said on Friday that two cases were reported to the Hawks in Johannesburg and one in Stellenbosch. One of the Stellenbosch cases includes theft, extortion, forgery and a failure to report knowledge of wrongdoing.

According to Business Day, this was revealed in response to questions posed in Parliament by the DA's David Maynier, although Cele did not mention Jooste by name.

During a presentation of the company's half-year results on Friday, the company reportedly confirmed that a case was opened against Jooste under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Practices Act.

Jooste resigned from Steinhoff, Europe's second-largest furniture retailer, in December last year, after admitting that investors were not told about almost $1-billion (~R13.85-billion) in transactions. Steinhoff is reportedly also under investigation for accounting irregularities in Germany, related to whether it declared its tax correctly.

Investors in Germany, the Netherlands and South Africa, where the group is registered, have also threatened class action suits, according to reports.

In April, Fin24 reported that companies belonging to Titan Group, owned by former chairperson of the supervisory board at Steinhoff Christo Wiese, had announced a lawsuit against Steinhoff for R59-billion. Wiese resigned from Steinhoff in December.

Titan reportedly wanted its money back from its subscription to Steinhoff shares after Steinhoff acquired Pepkor, along with another claim related to Titan's capital injection into the firm in 2016.