Death of Markus Jooste, Businessman at the Heart of Major Financial Debacle

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Markus Jooste

The Businessman Markus Jooste took his own life on March 21, 2024, in Hermanus, in the Cape region. This former director of Steinhoff is suspected to have masterminded the massive frauds that led to the collapse of this multinational furniture and retail company.

One of South Africa’s prominent businessmen has died. Markus Jooste, former director of the multinational furniture and retail company Steinhoff, committed suicide on March 21, 2024, on a beach in the city of Hermanus, in the Cape region.

He is suspected to have orchestrated the massive frauds that caused the company’s downfall in 2017, resulting in the disappearance of several billion euros. After 7 years of investigation, the police were about to arrest him. But Markus Jooste took his own life rather than face justice.

His life had been a downward spiral since his resignation in December 2017. The Deloitte firm had just refused to sign off on Steinhoff’s accounts, which were deemed fraudulent and inflated to please shareholders. This decision would precipitate the multinational’s collapse, known for its acquisition of Conforama in France and aspirations to rival Ikea.

“I have caused financial losses to many innocents”

Ousted, Markus Jooste would then disappear from the radar, confined behind the walls of his villa in Hermanus, where people tagged insults against him. “I have caused financial losses to many innocents,” he apologized in an email announcing his resignation.

Markus Jooste had just been fined 23 million euros on March 20, the South African central bank had frozen his assets, and German officials were looking for him. Even worse, he was required to appear before the police by the end of the week by the anti-corruption section.


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