Since the departure of former CEO Markus Jooste from Steinhoff in early December drew attention to SA’s biggest fraud, a man who seems more elusive than a unicorn has darted in and out of the saga in various roles. He is Malcolm King, who has interacted closely with Steinhoff and Jooste for 15 years, according to information unearthed by the FM. The relationship began with the fortuitous appearance of a company controlled by King on the share register of retailer Freedom Group, shortly before Steinhoff facilitated a management buyout of it in 2003. King’s company, Formal Graphics, as it was known, profited handsomely from the Freedom buyout at the time. But who is King, and why does it look as if Jooste favours him and trusts him implicitly? Property aristocracy The FM spoke to a highly regarded banker who met King with Jooste at King’s sprawling country estate in the Cotswolds. The banker says Jooste and King had a relationship that went back a long way, perhaps spanning decades. K...

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