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A consortium of law firms has applied to launch a class-action lawsuit in the South Gauteng high court on behalf of investors in Steinhoff, seeking damages that could potentially run to as much as R185bn. The lawsuit brings claims on behalf of all investors who purchased Steinhoff shares in the period from at least June 26 2013 up to the date former CEO Markus Jooste resigned, on December 5 2017. The 2013 date relates to the initial purchase of European furniture retailer Kika-Leiner by Genesis Investment Holdings, a Steinhoff off-balance sheet entity. Steinhoff, which initially bought Kika-Leiner’s property assets, later acquired the retail operations too. The application names as defendants the Dutch incorporated Steinhoff International Holdings NV; its South African predecessor, Steinhoff International Holdings; as well as three banks and the auditors that assisted Steinhoff with its Frankfurt listing. These are Absa, Germany’s Commerzbank and UK-based Standard Chartered Bank, as...

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