On December 6, 2017, as Steinhoff shares plummeted and the world realised the business had been up to no good, Markus Jooste was, rather surprisingly for a man who seems to have zero conscience, rather apologetic.
Via court documents last week, in a matter to do with legal action being taken against Jooste and Steinhoff, some of his text messages to friend Jo Grove in the wake of the scandal emerged.
His remorse will be scant consolation for those who lost millions when the company crashed, with this below from Fin24:
The court documents allege that on December 6 Jooste sent the SMS to Grove. According to the court documents, the SMS said (in Afrikaans): “My dear friend, I apologise for the damage I caused Steinhoff. I made big mistakes and have to pay the price for those. Not Danie, Ben, Mariza or Stephan [Potgieter, Jooste’s son-in-law] were involved at all. Once again terribly sorry!”
Grove then replies (in Afrikaans): “Hey my friend what is going on?”
To this Jooste allegedly responded (in Afrikaans): “I tried my best Jo but the bus was too big and America’s shit impacted us in a bad way and I tried to hide it and got up to shit…I apologise Jo! Would you PLEASE look after Stefan [Potgieter, Jooste’s son-in-law] and Michael [Jooste’s son] on my behalf during this difficult time they are going through?”
“I tried to hide it and got up to shit” – now there’s an understatement.
The court matter involves a claim by Le Toit Trust, and relates to PSG shares Jaap Du Toit swapped for Steinhoff shares in 2015.
Whilst that matter seeks a monetary settlement, there is also the thorny subject matter of potential inside trading by Jooste. Here’s IOL:
According to other media reports, Jooste tipped off a few friends that the Steinhoff stock price was about to come under pressure.
This was revealed in a report by Bloomberg news agency, which stated that it had seen a mobile phone text message that Jooste sent to at least two people, warning them that bad news was about to spill out into the open.
It is illegal to make beneficial trades on the basis of access to confidential information.
The text message also firms up suspicions that Jooste was aware of, and directing, financial jiggery-pokery, although he has denied any wrongdoing and blames Steinhoff woes on an ugly fight with a former business partner.
Given that he will hire the best lawyers possible, it seems unlikely that Jooste will ever serve actual time for his crimes.
We may have to make do with dragging his name through the mud in the absence of real justice.
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