ABSA distances itself from Steinhoff's accounting fiasco

Update: This article has been updated with comment from VEB

Cape Town - ABSA bank said on Thursday its role as Steinhoff’s JSE sponsor was strictly to ensure the retail group met the requirements of the JSE and had no role in scrutinising Steinhoff’s financial statements.

The bank issued a statement on Thursday, following a report by the City Press that VEB (Dutch Investors Association) planned to target ABSA bank in its class action suit against Steinhoff.

According to the City Press report VEB was going after ABSA and two other banks for providing services to Steinhoff when the retail company was compiling two prospectuses in 2015 ahead of its listing in Frankfurt.

The information in the prospectuses had been found to be misleading and had resulted in losses to shareholders.

However, ABSA on Thursday said it had not received a notice from VEB, requesting the bank to reach a settlement with the firm or be subject to the class action law suit. “ABSA has not received any notification from VEB in this regard,” the statement read.

ABSA further distanced itself from the accounting irregularities by clarifying that its role as JSE sponsor of Steinhoff was to ensure that the JSE’s listing rules were complied with.

“ABSA’s mandate specifically did not include the compilation or review of the financial statements of Steinhoff South Africa or any other Steinhoff company,” the bank said.

VEB on Thursday afternoon  confirmed to Fin24 that a notice was sent to ABSA through the Dutch bailiff and that ABSA is in possession of a digital copy of the notice.

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