R161 million SMS – FSCA beats Jooste in the world’s second largest fine for Steinhoff insider trading

The action for the financial sector (FSCA) fined the former CEO of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste, R121 million for insider trading related to the looming (then) collapse of Steinhoff shares.

The FSCA also fined three other individuals for insider trading – they sold their Steinhoff shares in response to a warning Markus Jooste received. This brings the total fines to R241 million.

If the three individuals – Dr Gerhardus Diedericks Burger, Marthinus Swiegelaar (who was Jooste’s manager) and Jooste’s old friend the late Ockie Oosthuizen – do not pay their fines, Jooste is liable for the additional amounts of R38 million plus R18 million, to SMS he sent to them, probably to make the most expensive SMS in the world.

This is the largest fine imposed by the FSCA for insider trading – the second largest is the R24 million that Deutsche Bank fined in 2019.

This is the second punishment the FSCA has imposed on Steinhoff, or individuals associated with Steinhoff. The first was the R1.5 billion imposed on Steinhoff for disclosing false and misleading information on the market. However, this amount was overpaid at R56 million because the FSCA believed that Steinhoff shareholders would eventually bear the greatest burden of the fine.

The third penalty kick …

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