Through a looking glass
Laying bare the ransacking at Steinhoff
Steinhoff's annual report lays bare SA's most audacious fraud - it's an epic that would shame even Enron's crooks
For pundits in arcane accounting high jinks, Steinhoff’s 2017 financial statements were always going to be a precedent-setting treat, stretching the boundaries of what is possible. Late last Tuesday, before a public holiday, Steinhoff finally revealed its audited financials for the year to September 2017 — the very set of financials that pulled the rug out from under former CEO Markus Jooste. The 327-page annual report was something to behold. It lay bare a web of shadowy related-party transactions, vast personal enrichment at the expense of shareholders, and, at R246bn, one of the most audacious frauds ever committed. In a note sent to clients the day after the results, Peter Armitage, the founder and CEO of Anchor Capital, wrote: "The financials give further details of the extent of irregular transactions, false profits and manipulated accounts. It is hard to believe it is so big. Remember the world’s biggest fraud, Enron, was R650bn."Armitage added that when Steinhoff releases i...