In an almost unbelievable turn of events, it seems Markus Jooste has betrayed the man he once looked up to as a young articled clerk, the man who was his mentor and who ultimately became his business partner.
The papers filed before the Western Cape High Court last month by Absa bank to have Markus Jooste’s Mayfair Speculators liquidated reveal how he removed nearly all the assets from the company before leaving his good friend Christo Wiese on the hook for over R200 million.
The story began almost exactly a year before, in December 2016, when Mayfair, represented by Jooste’s son-in-law Stefan Potgieter, and Absa concluded a financing arrangement, which saw the bank providing Mayfair with an overdraft facility amounting to R335.6 million and bank guarantees of a further R14.4 million (in total R350 million). To secure this, from Jooste, Absa received a suretyship of R100 million and cession of a share portfolio consisting of Steinhoff shares.
In addition though, the court papers reveal that Absa required “an unconditional, irrevocable on demand limited guarantee by Upington Investment Holdings” for an amount of R350 million “pursuant to which Upington would guarantee the due and proper performance by the Respondent of all its obligations under the Facility Agreement….” – bank-speak for Upington standing behind any and all obligations of Mayfair up to the limit of R350 million.
Upington Investment Holdings is a registered company in the Netherlands and South Africa and is the primary investment vehicle for Christo Wiese’s shares in Steinhoff, as can be seen from the shareholder register of Steinhoff as at November 24 2017.