South Africa: Steinhoff Implosion - Balance Sheet Fraud, It Appears, Is Taken Seriously in Germany

(file photo).

Three years and three months after Steinhoff auditor Deloitte refused to sign off on the company's accounts, triggering the resignation of the CEO and implosion of the share price, German authorities have reportedly indicted four people on charges of balance sheet manipulation.

German publication Manager Magazin has reported that the German prosecutors have completed their criminal investigation into balance sheet manipulation at Steinhoff, which has a primary listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Authorities have refused to identify who exactly has been indicted; however, speculation is that former CEO Markus Jooste, two other Steinhoff insiders and one "outsider" will be charged.

In Germany, a conviction for fraud can carry a sentence of no less than three years.

While South African authorities have supported the German investigation, the spokesperson for the Hawks, Katlego Mohale, would not confirm nor deny the magazine's allegations, referring Business Maverick to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Investigations in South Africa have not reached the point of prosecution, added Bulelwa Makeke, executive manager for communication at ‎the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

"The Hawks have not referred their investigation to the NPA for prosecution," she says. This makes the NPA reluctant to comment until the German...

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