Rob Rose Editor: Financial Mail

Oldenburg is a tranquil town, nestled next to the Hunte River and dating to the eighth century, in Germany’s Lower Saxony region. It has a few threads of vitality thanks to a university and a sprinkling of tourists who come to see the 86m-tall St Lambert’s church, first built in the 12th century. But for the large part, it’s a placid place of just 200,000 residents, who go about their business on largely empty streets shadowed by immense trees. In terms of hustle, think Potchefstroom. Or, perhaps more appropriately, Stellenbosch. Yet Oldenburg was, to some extent, ground zero for SA’s largest corporate scandal: Steinhoff. It is there, just a 20-minute drive from the company’s European headquarters in Westerstede where founder Bruno Steinhoff still lives, that the dominoes began to fall. Back in 2015, on the eve of Steinhoff’s listing in Frankfurt (where it raised €19bn in the bourse’s largest capital raise that year), prosecutors from Oldenburg first raided Steinhoff’s offices on su...

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