R1.2bn assets linked to Steinhoff boss attached

Jooste property includes art collection worth nearly R100m

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter
Former CEO of Steinhoff Markus Jooste.
Former CEO of Steinhoff Markus Jooste.
Image: Esa Alexander

A silver Mercedes Benz SL600, a green Land Rover Defender, a white Lexus LX570, jewellery, a mansion in Hermanus and the exclusive Lanzerac wine estate outside Stellenbosch are just some of the assets linked to former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has attached.

On Tuesday, the Western Cape High Court granted SARB's application to attach all assets linked to Jooste who is accused of breaching the exchange control regulations. The assets are estimated to be worth well over R1.2bn.

Under the draft order which was made public on Tuesday, attached Jooste’s compound in Hermanus in Western Cape as well as five cars registered to his wife Ingrid and an eighth respondent in the case, Petrus Albertus Venter.

The first three cars attached, registered to Venter, are: Isuzu KB 4x4 double cab valued at R81,200; Mercedes-Benz SL600 (R434,300) and Land Rover Defender 110 (R350,000).

The two vehicles registered under Ingrid are: Lexus LZ570 (R293,600) and Volkswagen Kombi VN 750 (R344,100).

Personal assets declared by Jooste including jewellery, paintings and firearms with a realisable value of R795,400 were also attached.

A general view of Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.
A general view of Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.
Image: ER Lombard

According to the draft order, the reserve bank is allowed to attach all movable goods of any nature belonging to Jooste excluding “clothing of those persons present or resident on the property and any foodstuffs and living essentials.”

The assets will not be moved from the properties and Jooste is still allowed to use them pending the finalisation of the case.

The order goes beyond to grant SARB access to Lanzerac and Jooste's digital books and documents in order to access the finances.

“The forensic expert, in the company of the sheriff and under the supervision of the supervising attorney, shall be authorised and directed to make an electronic mirror image of the data on the Jooste data devices and on the Jooste data storage servers whereas the forensic expert shall copy the said mirror image on an external hard drive,” the order says.

SARB was also granted permission to attach assets in Jooste's Silveroak Trust, including art, worth R99m.

Steinhoff, one of SA's biggest corporate scandals, has been battling to survive for more than four years since auditors refused to sign off on its accounts, leading to a dramatic share price collapse and the start of police and regulatory investigations in Europe and SA.

Since then, it's investors are said to have lost R200bn since December 2017 with Jooste at the centre of accounting manipulation that brought the company to its knees.

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