In a statement, the FSCA said the administrative penalty followed an investigation that found Jooste was privy to Steinhoff-related ‘inside info’ before the company’s shares tanked.
Former Steinhoff chief executive officer Markus Jooste in Parliament on 5 September 2018. Picture: EWN
In a statement, the FSCA said the administrative penalty followed an investigation that found Jooste was privy to Steinhoff-related “inside info” before the company’s shares tanked.
Jooste is at the centre of the Steinhoff scandal not only amid accusations that he was involved in false financial reporting but also after the damning claims of insider trading.
“The administrative penalty imposed on Mr Jooste is pursuant to an investigation by the Authority which found that on 30 November 2017, shortly before the much-publicised significant decrease in the market value of Steinhoff shares, Mr Jooste was privy to Steinhoff related inside information,” the FSCA said in a statement.
“Whilst privy to inside information, he disclosed some of the information in a ‘warning SMS’ encouraging four individuals close to him to dispose of their Steinhoff shares prior to the publication of some of the inside information to the rest of the market. Three recipients acted on his disclosure and encouragement and sold Steinhoff shares.”
Previously, Bloomberg reported that Jooste sent cellphone messages to his friends advising them to sell their Steinhoff shares days before the share imploded.
Steinhoff has endured hefty losses and a stream of lawsuits since revealing holes in its accounts in 2017. The first sign of fraud were estimated to total R115 billion and from which it was still battling to recover.
Once the fine is issued as a formal invoice, Jooste would have 30 days to pay.
The FSCA said it was likely to lodge a criminal complaint with police as well.