SteinhoffBloomberg reports that Steinhoff International’s former chief executive officer Markus Jooste regards the company’s claim for more than R850 million against him as “vague and embarrassing.”  

The retailer said in June it would look to claw back base salaries, bonuses and other incentives paid to Jooste since 2009 because of his role in the accounting crisis that triggered the firm’s near-collapse.  According to legal papers filed in the High Court in Cape Town, Jooste’s planned exception to Steinhoff’s claim includes the assertion that the company failed to provide enough detail of his employment contract in the lawsuit, including whether certain elements were made orally or in writing.  The filing gives Steinhoff two weeks to “remove the identified causes of complaint”.  Steinhoff’s shares have collapsed by 97% since the crisis erupted in late 2017 and the company is itself facing a string of lawsuits.  Steinhoff claims that payments to Jooste were dependent on “the sound and successful financial performance” of the retailer and, had the company been aware of all the facts, the remuneration committee would not have recommended any payment.”  Jooste is arguing that these were not “express terms” of his employment contract.  Moreover, he has objected to Steinhoff not explaining how any fictitious deals or accounting irregularities resulted in a loss to the company, rather than its shareholders.

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