Steinhoff expects Dutch court to reject JV partner petition, decision in two months

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JOHANNESBURG – Steinhoff said it had presented its arguments to a Dutch court and was certain a petition made by a former joint venture partner, seeking a probe into the South African group’s accounts, would be dismissed within the next two months.

The firm, also under scrutiny for alleged accounting fraud in Germany, has previously said that legal and external audit firms it had appointed had concluded there was no evidence of any wrongdoing.

OM Handels GmbH and MW Handels GmbH, owned by the former JV partner, had filed the petition with the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, asking the court to order a probe into the group’s annual accounts.

“Steinhoff … presented its position to the court and remains confident that the arguments, supported by independent lawyers and legal opinions will lead to the rejection of the petition,” it said in a statement.

“The chamber will now deliberate and Steinhoff expects a court decision to be presented within the next two months.”

The petition came on the heels of news about German prosecutors investigating some current and former executives from Steinhoff, Europe’s No. 2 furniture retailer after IKEA, for suspected accounting fraud.

Earlier this week, Steinhoff’s African unit made its market debut, surging nearly 10 percent, as investors looked past its parent company’s legal wrangles in Europe and piled into the continent’s retail powerhouse.

Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Himani Sarkar(Reuters)

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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