Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Former Steinhoff chair Christo Wiese appears to have been completely blindsided by the crisis at the global retail group. Despite being named in connection with numerous related-party transactions in Steinhoff’s just released 2017 annual report, the retail magnate told parliamentarians at a hearing in January 2018 that the events at Steinhoff hit him like a "bolt out of the blue". Wiese was the most frequently mentioned name in the annual report, receiving considerably more mentions than even former CEO Markus Jooste. The annual report, which was released just before midnight on Tuesday, took 17 months to be completed by Deloitte. On Wednesday Wiese did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the dramatic document. Wiese’s name is mentioned 72 times in the report, in many instances in relation to complex related-party transactions. The transactions are identified in detail at the end of the 329-page report. They include the November 2017 prepayment by Steinhoff to Wiese f...

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