Steinhoff plans to appeal ruling ordering it to share probe into accounting fraud

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Steinhoff wants to keep a forensic probe into accounting fraud out of the media.
Steinhoff wants to keep a forensic probe into accounting fraud out of the media.
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Steinhoff is seeking to appeal a ruling ordering it to share a forensic probe into accounting fraud with two media groups. 

Earlier this month amaBhungane and Tiso Blackstar* won a court case for access to Steinhoff's 3 000-page investigation into the accounting scandal that caused its share price to plunge and led to the resignation of its CEO Markus Jooste. 

Steinhoff had argued that the report was privileged and should be kept under wraps, as its dissemination would undermine future court cases against implicated former executives, including Jooste. 

The Western Cape High Court, however, ruled that Steinhoff failed to establish that the report was protected by legal privilege and ordered it to be shared with the media. 

Appeal

The retailer is now seeking leave to appeal the ruling on the basis that it would be "prejudiced by the premature disclosure of the contents".

It will argue that there is "clear evidence" that it was already contemplating litigation when it commissioned PwC to conduct the probe in late 2017 - meaning the investigation can be kept private under court rules. 

* Tiso Blackstar sold its media assets to Lebashe Investment Group in 2019, after which it was rebranded as Arena Holdings. Court documents and oral arguments still refer to Tiso Blackstar, however. The group requested the report in March 2019, before it was renamed.


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