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Du Toit NO and Others v Steinhoff International Holdings (Pty) Limited and Others; Jacobus de Vos du Toit NO and Others v Jooste (16244/2018; 47916/2019) [2019] ZAWCHC 129

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Du Toit NO and Others v Steinhoff International Holdings (Pty) Limited and Others; Jacobus de Vos du Toit NO and Others v Jooste (16244/2018; 47916/2019) [2019] ZAWCHC 129

2nd October 2019

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1. The Plaintiffs, trustees of the Le Toit Trust (“the Trust”), have instituted two separate actions in which they claim damages in an amount  of  R 740 407 680 in each.

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2. The two actions are based largely on the same facts and follow upon the much-publicised collapse, in early December 2017, of the share price of Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.

3. The first of the actions instituted under Case No. 16244/18 (“the Steinhoff action”) includes the following defendants:

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3.1 Steinhoff International Holdings (Pty) Ltd (“SIH-SA”), First Defendant, Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. (“SIH-NV”), Fourth Defendant, and Steinhoff Investment Holdings Limited, Fifth Defendant. SIH-SA, SIH-NV, and Steinhoff Investment Holdings Limited; all of who are here after collectively referred to as “the Steinhoff defendants”.

3.2 Markus Johannes Jooste (“Mr Jooste”), the former CEO of the Steinhoff Group, was cited as the Second Defendant (the action was subsequently withdrawn against him by the Plaintiffs).

3.3 Mr Andries Benjamin La Grange (“La Grange”), a former Steinhoff Director and CFO, was cited as the Third Defendant.

4. The Plaintiffs claim for damages arises from alleged misrepresentations made by Mr Jooste and La Grange. The cause of action is based on fraudulent misrepresentation and on the alleged breach of various provisions of the Companies Act 71 of 2008 (“the Companies Act”).

5. In the second action, under Case No. 47912/19 (“the second action”), the Plaintiffs claim from Mr Jooste, as the only defendant, damages arising from the same set of circumstances and on the same causes of action as the Steinhoff action, together with an additional cause of action based on a breach of his fiduciary duties.

6. In both actions, the Plaintiffs claim that but for the unlawful conduct of the defendants, the Plaintiffs would not have swopped their shares in the PSG Group for shares in the SIH-SA that Plaintiffs’ contend were in reality almost worthless. They claim as damages the difference in value between the two sets of shares.

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