Jooste loses German arrest warrant appeal
Markus Jooste, former CEO of Steinhoff International Holdings NV, lost an appeal against the arrest warrant issued by a German court after he failed to show up for trial in the country, reports Moneyweb.
The Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg rejected his challenge on Monday, a tribunal spokeswoman said by phone.
Prosecutors had asked for an arrest warrant when Jooste didn’t show up for his trial in April. Bernd Gross, Jooste’s German lawyer, didn’t reply to an email seeking comment. Gross told the court in April that Jooste was unable to travel because he didn’t have access to his passport, under an arrangement with South African authorities.
Jooste is facing much bigger probes and allegations in SA than in Germany, the lawyer said at the time.
Steinhoff had been battling to stay afloat, more than five years after auditors refused to sign off on its accounts. This prompted Jooste to resign which caused a dramatic share-price collapse as well as criminal and regulatory investigations in both Europe and SA.
The judicial authorities in Oldenburg could now seek his extradition from SA or ask Interpol for help in the case.
Meanwhile, Steinhoff's shareholders have voted to dissolve the company and delist it from the Johannesburg and Frankfurt stock exchanges, reports Fin24.
Around 99% of shareholders that registered to attend the company's extraordinary general meeting in Amsterdam backed the debt-ridden retailer's proposal to delist yesterday. The meeting was poorly attended, with empty chairs facing four Steinhoff board members. There were few questions before the vote.
The decision to delist was largely a foregone conclusion, given that a Dutch court had already certified Steinhoff's plan to switch from a publicly listed company owned by shareholders to a delisted group under the control of its creditors.
In exchange for delisting and handing over economic control to its creditors, Steinhoff has been granted a three-year debt repayment holiday.
The company leadership has said that had it not made the deal, it would have been forced into a messy liquidation over its €10.2bn debt burden. No date has been announced yet for it to stop trading publicly.
Following the delisting, Steinhoff's stock will be converted into a type of equity called contingent value rights (CVRs). The group's creditors will receive 80% of these CVRs. Shareholders will receive the remaining 20%. It's still unclear what the CVRs will be worth, or how they will be traded. The meeting heard that a new and as yet unnamed holding company will be created to take over Steinhoff's books, records and other data.
This company, which will be registered and run from SA, will also maintain the register of CVRs.
Article disclaimer: While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide final legal advice as facts and situations will differ from case to case, and therefore specific legal advice should be sought with a lawyer.