Steinhoff International Holdings says acting CEO Danie van der Merwe repaid a R26.4m loan backed by company shares that he took out a week before the retailer’s stock collapsed because of an accounting scandal. The timing of the loan raises questions about how much Van der Merwe knew about the financial malpractice that has brought the company to the brink of collapse. Acting chairwoman Heather Sonn told investors last month that any current executive would quit if they were implicated in any wrongdoing, while Steinhoff is the subject of legal claims including a R59bn lawsuit by former biggest shareholder Christo Wiese, who also served as chairman of the company. Van der Merwe’s personal investment company, Ruby Street Investments, borrowed the funds from Investec plc on November 29, the same day that companies owned by former CEO Markus Jooste and his son-in-law Stefan Potgieter took out a R93m loan from the same bank, according to a court filing by Investec in December. Both loans...

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