[imagesource: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)]
It’s been a long time coming, but it was announced earlier today that Markus Jooste, the disgraced former Steinhoff CEO, has been hit where it hurts.
10 days after the Johannesburg Stock Exchange fined Steinhoff R13,5 million, Jooste has been slapped with a R161,5 million fine by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FCSA), of which he is personally responsible for paying R122 million.
The rest is payable by Ocsan Investment Enterprise, based on joint liability with Jooste.
Fin24 reports that despite the fact that Jooste himself didn’t benefit financially from the trading, he shared inside information with a number of shareholders via SMS on November 30, 2017.
This was just before the value of Steinhoff’s shares plummeted:
Three recipients acted on his disclosure and encouragement and sold Steinhoff shares, avoiding losses.
…as the “tipper” of insider information he is liable, with those to whom he gave inside information – including founding member of PSG Group Jaap du Toit, his acquaintance Dr Gerhardus Diedericks Burger, Jooste’s driver Marthinus Swiegelaar and Ocsan Investment Enterprise.
Altogether, the four individuals have been fined R241 million, and Jooste has 30 days to pay the fine, or choose to appeal the FCSA decision.
Brandon Topham, the divisional executive for investigations at FCSA, said this was far from the end of the investigation, with inquiries expected to wrap up in April of next year.
The FCSA is likely to lodge a criminal complaint against the same parties.
Translated from Afrikaans, here’s the SMS that led to the fine:
“You always ask my opinion, it will take Steinhoff a long time to work through all the bad new and America. So there are better places to invest your money. Take the current price immediately. And delete this SMS and don’t mention it to anyone.”
It’s never a good look when a message ends with a request for deletion and silence going forward.
Given that Jooste has consistently denied wrongdoing with regards to insider trading, it seems likely that he will appeal the decision.
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