Steinhoff Ex-CEO Jooste Fined $9.9 Million for Insider Trading

(Bloomberg) – Steinhoff International Holdings NV former Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste has been fined 162 million rand ($9.9 million) by a South African regulator for insider trading ahead of the retailer’s near collapse almost three years ago.

Jooste sent a text message to four people warning them to sell their stock in the company before it reported accounting irregularities in December 2017, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority said in a statement Friday. Three of them acted on the advice and have been penalized smaller amounts.

Steinhoff shares lost more than 90% of their value after the then-owner of Pep stores across Africa and Mattress Firm in the U.S. said its auditors wouldn’t sign off on financial statements, leaving the company battling for survival. Jooste quit the same day. He and the company are involved in several probes and lawsuits by investors trying to recoup their losses.

Jooste’s texts to friends before the scandal broke were first reported by Bloomberg in October 2018.