Former CEO Shoots Himself to Commit Suicide After Receiving $25 Million Record-Breaking Fine for Fraud at Steinhoff

By Jace Dela Cruz

Mar 23, 2024 02:38 AM EDT

After being notified of an arrest warrant against him, Markus Jooste, the former CEO of South African multinational retailer Steinhoff International Holdings, was found dead in what authorities suspect to be a suicide. 

Former chief executive of South African retail giant Steinhoff Markus Jooste gives testimony about the massive drop of value of the multinational company, in front of a parliamentary committee in the South African Parliament on September 05, 2018, in Cape Town.
(Photo : RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images)

Former CEO of Steinhoff Commits Suicide Near Cape Town in South Africa

According to Reuters, the elite Hawks police unit confirmed on Friday that warrants were issued for Markus Jooste and his former colleague Stephanus Grobler on Wednesday, the same day the 63-year-old former CEO received a massive fine for accounting fraud by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

Jooste's body was reportedly discovered on a coastline at Kwaaiwater beach on Thursday afternoon with a gunshot wound. It was a few hundred meters from his home in the Hermanus coastal town near Cape Town. Local media reported that Jooste, who later died on the way to the hospital, had shot himself.

READ NEXT: South Africa's Return To Office Gets Middle Finger From Employees Office-Based Work Policies Increase in 2024

Fraud Allegations Against Steinhoff Former CEO Markus Jooste

The shooting incident occurred just more than 24 hours after the FSCA fined him a whopping 475 million rand ($25 million) and announced intentions to initiate a criminal case against him. 

Markus Jooste was informed that he should present himself for arrest on Friday and appear at a court hearing in the capital, Pretoria, later in the day. The hefty fine was reportedly the biggest so far in South Africa's history. 

Once instrumental in turning the small Johannesburg furniture seller Steinhoff into a multinational retailer, Jooste was accused of publishing false and misleading financial statements and reports between 2014 and 2017. 

An audit by PwC found that Steinhoff executives made $6.5 billion worth of fake transactions in order to inflate profits. Despite leaving the company in 2017, Jooste remained under scrutiny for his role in the accounting scandal.

Reuters reported that since the former CEO left, Steinhoff, the majority owner of South African and European discount retailers Pepkor and Pepco, has suffered heavy losses and several lawsuits.

The FSCA noted that Jooste's death would not impact its investigation into Steinhoff or the penalty imposed on the former CEO. The FSCA asserted that it "is legally entitled to recover the penalty from the estate of the late Jooste."

READ MORE: Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank Reported to Return as CEO and the Company's Share Price Suddenly Jumped

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics