Steinhoff's former CEO Markus Jooste sees the retailer’s claim for more than R850m against him as ‘vague and embarrassing’, according to a report on the Fin24 site.

The owner of Poundland in the UK and Pep stores throughout Africa said in June it will look to claw back base salaries, bonuses and other incentives paid to Jooste since 2009 because of his role in the accounting crisis that triggered the retailer’s near-collapse.

Jooste’s planned exception to Steinhoff’s claim includes the assertion that the company failed to provide enough detail of his employment contract in the lawsuit, including whether certain elements were made orally or in writing, according to legal papers filed to the Western Cape High Court.

The filing gives Steinhoff two weeks to ‘remove the identified causes of complaint’.

Steinhoff’s shares have collapsed by 97% since the crisis erupted in late 2017 and the company is itself facing a string of lawsuits, which CEO Louis du Preez has said the company would prefer to settle as quickly as possible.

Steinhoff has claimed that payments to Jooste were dependent on ‘the sound and successful financial performance’ of the retailer and, had the company been aware of all the facts, the remuneration committee would not have recommended any payment.

Jooste is arguing that these were not ‘express terms’ of his employment contract.

Moreover, he’s objected to Steinhoff not explaining how any fictitious deals or accounting irregularities resulted in a loss to the company, rather than its shareholders.

Full Fin24 report