Ben la Grange, the former finance director of Steinhoff, appeared to be a whisker away from becoming a state witness against his former boss Markus Jooste. Then Jooste, due to finally face criminal charges six years after Steinhoff cratered, shot himself on the cliff paths of Hermanus in March, and the bid to prosecute South Africa’s defining corporate fraud changed trajectory overnight.

Last week La Grange, 49, appeared for the first time in Pretoria’s Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, charged alongside Steinhoff’s former legal head, Stéhan Grobler, with fraud, racketeering, corruption and financial markets infringements. He’ll feel that but for Jooste’s fatal decision in March, it could have all been so different...

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