Christo Wiese, Steinhoff International Holdings’ former chairman, says he received €325m from the retailer last year as upfront payments related to a planned merger between supermarket chain Shoprite Holdings and Steinhoff’s Africa operations. Steinhoff, which has lost 94% of its value since an accounting scandal erupted in early December, said earlier on Tuesday that two payments made to Wiese in October and November last year did not follow correct disclosure or governance procedures. That dragged the billionaire deeper into a crisis that has already ended the career of former CEO Markus Jooste. In a phone interview, Wiese said he received two payments of €200m and €125m for shares in Steinhoff Africa Retail, known as Star, a step in the process of combining the unit with Cape Town-based Shoprite, in which Wiese is the biggest shareholder. That deal collapsed shortly after Steinhoff reported accounting irregularities, so he agreed to return the cash, he said. "Given the parties in...

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