Markus Jooste, former CEO of Steinhoff.

The former CEO of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste, will testify in parliament this morning about his role in one of the biggest corporate crises to have hit South Africa.

Millions of investors in pension funds – including 1.6 million civil servants - have lost money as Steinhoff’s share price slumped 96% since December 2017. 

His former colleague, Ben la Grange (who was head of finance at Steinhoff), last week testified in parliament that Jooste “influenced” a number of Steinhoff transactions, which contributed to the accounting irregularities at the company. He may also have benefited personally from these transactions.

UPDATE: Much greyer and struggling with a cold: Markus Jooste arrives at Parliament

The personal and professional life of the high-flying Jooste, who is obsessed with horse racing, has come under scrutiny in recent months. But here are some things you may not know about him:

Jooste’s first job was as a ‘runner’ for horse punters

Jooste’s father worked for the Post Office in Pretoria. A horse betting enthusiast, Jooste Senior spent a lot of time at the Tattersalls punting booth next to the Post Office. From the age of 12, Jooste worked as a “runner” for the punters –  he ran between bookmakers with different bets for different punters.

Source: Fin24

He worked at SARS for years

After he did his articles and became a chartered accountant, Jooste worked for the SA Revenue Service in Pretoria. He progressed through the ranks, became a deputy director and was tasked with establishing a special investigative unit.

His time at SARS afforded him crucial inside tax knowledge, which he later applied in structuring Steinhoff's finances. Jooste took enormous care to ensure Steinhoff pays as little tax as possible. In the five years up to 2015, for example, Steinhoff’s average effective tax rate was 11.2% - compared to the South Africa corporate tax rate of 28%.

Source: Steinhoff: Inside SA's biggest corporate crash by James-Brent Styan

He bought ‘his and hers’ Bentleys

According to a report in Huisgenoot magazine, Markus Jooste bought a bronze Bentley Bentayga for a 35-year old blonde polo player, who was thought to be his lover. He reportedly owns a black version, while his wife drives a Range Rover.

(Huisgenoot)
(Huisgenoot)

It has been widely reported that Jooste had an affair with Berdine Odendaal at the time of the Steinhoff implosion. Facebook pictures show that Odendaal spent time at a Bantry Bay flat owned by Jooste. Odendaal also drove a white Ferrari and owned ten properties in the Val de Vie estate outside Paarl. 

Source: Huisgenoot and Huffington Post

He bought a Hermanus beach house from the Rupert family

Markus reportedly owns a number of properties, including a luxury house in the English town of Cheltenham, which is famous for its horse racing. Apart from a home in Stellenbosch, he owned a number of Hermanus plots and houses, one of which he bought from the Rupert family. He has sold some of these properties, including a house for R22 million.

One of Markus Jooste’s houses in Hermanus. Picture: Edrea du Toit.
 
Vandalism at one of his Hermanus properties.
Source: Network24

He donated R10 million to his former school – but they are not sure what to do with it

Markus Jooste donated R10 million to a trust of his alma mater Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (the Afrikaans Boys High School) in Pretoria. Following the Steinhoff implosion, the trust has ringfenced the money until it has more information on where the money came from.

There is no evidence – yet – that the money is dirty, the trust says, but it is not taking any chances with either the law or public sentiment.

He gave his university res a black Jaguar

Jooste studied at the University of Stellenbosch and stayed at the men’s residence Wilgenhof, also know as "Bekfluitjie" or "Willows". He donated a black Jaguar to the res, with a personalised number plate. 

(YouTube)

Source: Steinhoff: Inside SA's biggest corporate crash by James-Brent Styan

His idea of relaxing is watching horse racing on his iPad

“If I come into a hotel room at 11 at night, fire up my iPad and watch my horses racing all over the world, that’s when I relax,” he said in an interview. “I’ve never bet and that is perhaps the difference – I participate in it as a sport. “

Source: Fin24

He made wine with Jannie Mouton

Jooste bought the Stellenbosch wine farm Klein Gustrouw, right across the road from PSG founder Jannie Mouton. After Steinhoff bought a 20% stake in PSG to prevent a hostile bid from Absa, they became friends and even produced wine together. The label of the 2016 Klein Gustrouw bottle of Sauvignon Blanc still celebrate their "longstanding friendship".

The label of Klein Gustrouw wine.
Source: Steinhoff: Inside SA's biggest corporate crash by James-Brent Styan

At Steinhoff, Jooste's nickname was “The Seagull” 

According to his associates and colleagues, this was because Jooste would fly into the office, sh*t all over his executives and then fly out.

Source: Huffington Post

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