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Former boss of Poundland owner found dead from gunshot wound in South Africa, reports say

The former chief executive of South African multinational Steinhoff was told he would be arrested shortly before he was found fatally injured, police said.

South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority fined Markus Jooste almost £20 million on Wednesday for false accounting – the same day a warrant for his arrest was issued.

He was to surrender, along with his former colleague Stephanus Grobler, also the subject of an arrest warrant, and appear in court on Friday.

“The allegations include, among other things, fraud, a pattern of racketeering activities and a violation of the Financial Markets Act against Steinhoff International Holdings,” police said.

Picture:
The scene where Jooste apparently committed suicide. Photo: Reuters

But Jooste, 63, did not appear in court.

He was found on a rugged coastline in Kwaaiwater, a suburb of Hermanus, near Cape Town, on Thursday.

He was reportedly shot and police said he died on the way to the hospital.

The case remains under investigation but there are no suspicious circumstances, police said.

Jooste played a major role in Steinhoff’s transformation from a small Johannesburg furniture company to a multinational retailer.

But flaws in his accounting were revealed the same month Jooste left the company, in December 2017.

Learn more:
Shares of Poundland owner Steinhoff fall 60% due to ‘accounting irregularities’
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Although he said he was unaware of any accounting irregularities at the time, he was fined by the FSCA for publishing false and misleading financial statements and annual reports over the years. years 2014-2016 and the semester 2017.

The accounting scandal nearly brought down the group, which owns Poundland, alongside South African and European discount retailers Pepkor and Pepco, and it has since suffered heavy losses and numerous lawsuits.

The FSCA said Jooste’s death would not affect its investigation into the company, adding that it was legally entitled to recover the fine from his estate.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or by email at jo@samaritans.org. Alternatively, letters can be sent by post to: Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS.

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