markus jooste
Markus Jooste. Photo: Jaco Marais/Netwerk24
  • Disgraced Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste has appealed a R162 million insider trading fine.
  • The Financial Sector Tribunal is expected to hear his case in the first half of 2021.
  • Only one of the four parties fined for Steinhoff insider trading has made a payment yet.
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Disgraced former CEO of Steinhoff Markus Jooste has appealed a R162 million fine for sending SMS warnings about Steinhoff’s share price to four friends.

He was also ordered to pay the costs that the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) incurred in the insider trading investigation, and is jointly liable for around R56 million in fines issued to the recipients of the SMSes. If they can’t afford to pay, he has to cover for them.

Jooste was supposed to pay the money within a month after the fine was issued at the end of October last year.

Instead, he has taken the matter on review to the Financial Sector Tribunal, says Brandon Topham, divisional executive for investigations and enforcement at the FSCA. The independent tribunal was established in 2019 to reconsider the findings of the FSCA and various ombuds.

“A date has not been set yet for the matter to be heard, but will be in the first half of this year. Thereafter there is always the chance of further appeals to the higher courts,” Topham told Business Insider SA.

“Regardless, this will not settle the FSCA’s various investigations. We have open matters relating to the false and misleading statements made in the Steinhoff financial statements and other public statements by individuals linked to Steinhoff,” Topham said.

Fin24 reported last year that their findings should be announced by April 2021.

Jooste is also facing a number of lawsuits and a Hawks’ fraud and money laundering investigation.

The insider trading investigation followed an SMS that Jooste sent to Jaap du Toit, PSG founder and director, Jooste’s chauffeur Marthinus Swiegelaar, and Ockie Oosthuizen as well as Dr Gerhardus Diedericks Burger.

"You always ask my opinion, it will take Steinhoff a long time to work through all the bad news 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."
Jooste's SMS (translated from Afrikaans), sent on 30 November 2017

READ | What we know about the men who received a R241m warning SMS from Markus Jooste

On 5 December 2017, Jooste resigned as Steinhoff CEO after auditors Deloitte refused to sign off on the company’s results.

Then followed possibly the largest corporate crash – and uncovering of fraud – in South Africa's history. Steinhoff’s share price crashed 90% and investors lost R200 billion. 

Only Du Toit did not sell Steinhoff shares following the message, and was spared a fine.

Burger has paid half of his fine of R3 million already, and the balance is expected next month, the FSCA said. 

Another SMS recipient was former Springbok prop Ockie Oosthuizen, who died in 2019. He owned the Molenvliet wine farm in Stellenbosch, and was co-founder of the sports agency Megapro. 

The FSCA found that Oosthuizen “deliberately misled investigators during questioning and thus failed to provide meaningful cooperation”. His company Ocsan Investment Enterprises was fined R77 million. Ocsan is appealing the fine.

Swiegelaar was only fined R18,380 – he sold some of his shares after the Jooste SMS, but the FSCA says he “provided the highest level of cooperation during the investigation” compared to the other parties. The FSCA says it is currently "settling" with Swiegelaar. 

Business Insider SA approached Jooste’s lawyer for comment.

The article has been updated with information about the fine payments of other parties found guilty of insider trading.

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