Steinhoff launches unprecedented claim against ex-bosses
Steinhoff is claiming R870m from former CEO Markus Jooste and an additional R272m from former CFO Ben la Grange for 'unjustified enrichment', according to a summons filed in the Western Cape High Court.
A Financial Mail report says that on top of the unprecedented move, the company is demanding interest and legal costs from the two former executives. Steinhoff is not just going after the incentives and bonuses paid to Jooste and La Grange.
In a totally unexpected move, it is also going for their base salaries. The claim against Jooste dates from 2009 to 2015 and against La Grange from 2015 to early 2018. The summons contains a detailed list of the financial damage allegedly wreaked by Jooste, with the help of La Grange in the final two years before the company's share price collapsed.
The 33-page summons fleshes out many of the shocking revelations contained in the 2017 and 2018 annual reports, which were recently released after 18 months of interrogation by an international team of forensic auditors. The no-nonsense document directly links Jooste and La Grange to the widespread fictitious transactions and accounting irregularities that led to R200bn being wiped off Steinhoff's share value in December 2017.
The summons states: 'As a consequence of the fictitious transactions and the accounting irregularities, the financial position of Steinhoff International Holdings Pty during the period 2009 to 2015 and Steinhoff International Holdings NV during the period 2015 to 2017, was materially overstated and required restatement.'
The restatement wiped 8.2bn euros off the group's balance sheet.
Steinhoff says if it had been aware of the 'true facts' no base salary would have been paid and no bonuses or 'award shares' granted.
The FM says Jooste has 10 days to respond to the unprecedented legal move and La Grange one month.
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