Steinhoff’s former CFO working with authorities on fraud investigation

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The suspended former chief financial officer of Steinhoff is helping authorities with investigations into $7 billion-plus accounting fraud at the South African retailer, he said on Thursday.

Ben la Grange is one of eight individuals named in an investigation of what an independent report by auditor PwC said was a complex scheme in which intercompany deals worth 6.4 billion euros ($7.3 billion) were wrongly recorded as external income to prop up profits and hide costs in underperforming subsidiaries.

WATCH: PwC’s Steinhoff report is a replica of Viceroy’s report: Perring

“I am cooperating with all government agencies,” said La Grange, who was suspended last August but remains on the Steinhoff payroll as a consultant.

WATCH: Benguela reacts to PwC’s report on Steinhoff scandal

Former CEO Markus Jooste, who could not reached for comment through his lawyer, is among the eight executives named in the 15,000-word report conducted by PwC over the past 15 months. Jooste has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Steinhoff is under investigation by South Africa police, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority capital markets watchdog and exchange operator JSE.

The state prosecutor in Oldenburg, Germany, has also been investigating the company for suspected accounting irregularities since 2015.

Steinhoff first disclosed the hole in its accounts in December 2017, shocking investors who had backed its reinvention from a small South African business to a multinational retailer at the vanguard of the European discount furniture retail industry.

($1 = 0.8803 euros)

Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by David Goodman


Partner Content

VIRTUAL VDJ EXPOSES LOCAL CREATIVE AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

The City of eThekwini pulled out all stops to give fans of the annual Vodacom Durban July (VDJ). The Virtual Vodacom Durban...

GAUTRAIN – Why It Matters

Economic growth continues to be one of the focus areas for the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) and the Gautrain responds to that...

Tata International concludes a securitization transaction for its African Subsidiaries

UAE financial centers act as a gateway to benefit African businesses GCC, July 13th, 2020: Tata International Limited (TIL)...

Uber launches its largest region-wide initiative in partnership with Mastercard

Uber, in partnership with Mastercard to provide 120,000 free trips to frontline workers in MEA, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast...

Trending Now

ZSE to resume trading after a month long shutdown

The Zimbabwean Stock Exchange will resume trading today after a month long shut down as the government ordered an investigation against illegal foreign dealings by some companies.

Explainer: How the next WTO chief will be chosen and the task ahead

In so-called “confessionals”, members will tell this “troika” their preferences, without ranking them and without vetoes in a process expected to last two months. The first phase will be on Sept 7-16. Voting on the next director-general is seen only as a last resort if consensus cannot be reached.

COVID-19: IMF approves second RFI loan to Gabon

Gabon is added to the list of African countries that have received an IMF loan under the Rapid Financing Instrument scheme; this is also the second loan to the country amid the COVID-19 crisis bringing the total loan to $300 million. Ridle Markus, Africa Strategist, Absa Corporate and Investment Banking joins CNBC Africa for more.

COVID-19: EAC countries resume commercial flights

East Africa Community member states, Rwanda and Kenya on the 1st of this month opened up their airspaces to commercial flights after more than four months of lock-downs. So what kind of impact will this have on the struggling aviation sector? Derek Nseko, Aviation Industry Expert and Managing Director iFly Aviation spoke to CNBC Africa for more.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

- Advertisement -