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SA Reserve Bank seizes luxury home and R42 million in cash from Marcus Jooste’s lover Berdine Odendaal

Posted by IOL Property on April 24, 2024
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The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) could be gunning for more of former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste’s fortune after more than R60 million in cash and property – including the luxurious Val De Vie wine estate – was forfeited to the State from Jooste’s alleged girlfriend, Berdine Odendaal (41).

This brings to close Odendaal’s three-year long battle to access a portion of Jooste’s massive fortune frozen by SARB long before his alleged death by suicide last month.

In a “Notice and Order of Forfeiture” dated 16 April, 2024 but published in a Government Gazette on Tuesday, SARB Deputy Governor of the Prudential Cluster, Fundi Tshazibana, gave Odendaal notice of a decision to forfeit to the State the assets.

According to Tshazibana, the proceeds of the goods and the money shall be disposed of by deposit thereof into the National Revenue Fund.

However, the SARB could still be eyeing more of Jooste’s assets as it was granted a court order to attach art pieces worth more than R98m, other financial assets worth R1.2m and more than R131 000 in loans and other wine farms in September 2022.

The SARB spokesperson told Business Report by email on Tuesday that the bank had indeed finally forfeited the assets to the State, but refused to give out more details as the investigation proceeds.

“We confirm that we have issued the forfeiture notice, however the South African Reserve Bank does not comment on ongoing investigations,” the spokesperson said.

The monies forfeited to the State included R12.4m held in an Absa account, R26.5m held in another Absa account, R1.1m held in a Capitec Bank account, R998 015.80 in another Capitec account, R1.1m in a Standard Bank account, as well as Val De Vie wine estate in the Drakenstein Municipality worth R18m.

This comes after Odendaal last week escalated her bid against the SARB to access a portion of the fortune left by the mastermind behind the collapse of Steinhoff.

The SARB had initially attached four bank accounts, including a Nedbank account belonging to Odendaal, back in May 2021, as it raised some suspicion about a R60m loan she had received from a horse racing company owned by Jooste.

Odendaal had applied for leave to appeal before the Supreme Court of Appeal after already losing two court bids.

She wanted the court to compel SARB to continue paying her R150 000 a month for living expenses from her blocked accounts.

However, the SARB claimed there was an exchange control contravention when the funds were wired from abroad from Mayfair Speculators, a company associated with the disgraced former CEO of Steinhoff, Jooste.

Jooste was instrumental in what became known as the “Steinhoff Heist” following his fraudulent activities which cost South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation close to R200 billion of investments.

Steinhoff International was liquidated last year after the accounting scandal brought it to its knees.

The fraud at Steinhoff also cost the Public Investment Corporation close to R21bn of investments and wiped billions off the JSE, the net worth of tycoon Christo Wiese and the pension funds of ordinary South Africans.

At the time of his death, the disgraced 65-year-old Jooste was under investigation by the National Prosecuting Authority in a criminal case, in which he faced penalties of up to R15m or 10 years’ imprisonment, or both, and had a R475m administrative fine on him imposed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) for accounting irregularities.

BUSINESS REPORT

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