Steinhoff: Inside R106bn in imaginary deals
Defensive and light on detail, Steinhoff’s summary of PwC’s much-awaited report on how the books were cooked under Markus Jooste, is too coy for comfort. And while the market may be hoping a line has been drawn under this epic fraud, a clearer picture will emerge from its audited results next month
Heather Sonn, with the sort of enviable calm that has typified her 14 months as chair of retailer Steinhoff, casually told parliament this week that forensic investigators have gathered enough paper that, piled high, would reach to the moon and back. It was one of those alarming tangible details that hints at the gravity of what is now officially SA’s largest corporate fraud, according to an anorexic 11-page summary of PwC’s 15,000-page forensic report. In response to one parliamentarian, who suggested Sonn and Steinhoff CEO Louis du Preez looked "leisurely", Sonn replied: "Maybe we’re just tired. We take all of this very seriously ... We remain in a precarious position," she added. But quite how precarious, investors have to guess — because last week Steinhoff published a sanitised and neutered "overview" of the forensic report released by PwC late on Friday. Steinhoff’s summary ran to all of 11 pages — less than 1% of the full report — and somehow managed to avoid directly naming ...
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