Former chairman Wiese sues Steinhoff for $5 billion

South African businessman Christo Wiese has launched a $5 billion (3.6 billion pounds) lawsuit against crisis-hit Steinhoff , a retail company in which he was a board member and biggest shareholder until earlier this year, his company Titan Group said.

Wiese resigned as chairman in December last year after Steinhoff uncovered accounting irregularities that sent its shares crashing and triggered a fight survival for the South African retailer.

Titan Group, which houses some of Wiese's family assets, said the 59 billion rand (3.4 billion pounds) claim related to the 2016 capital injection by Wiese to help Steinhoff to pay its debt and fund the acquisition of the U.S. company Mattress Firm.

The claim also relates to the acquisition by Steinhoff of Wiese's clothing retailer Pepkor in 2015, in which Wiese and other Pepkor shareholders subscribed for Steinhoff shares as part of his payment.

Steinhoff did not immediately respond to a Reuters request to comment.
Separately, Steinhoff sold its 50 percent in German furniture chain POCO to former joint venture partner Andreas Seifert in a bid to settle a lawsuit over the ownership of the business.

Seifert had claimed half-ownership of POCO, while Steinhoff had said he had to be bought out due to unspecified actions by his company, Seifert Enterprises.
Steinhoff said that parties in the hearing at a German court had agreed to settle and Seifert entities offered to buy a 50 percent stake in POCO based on an agreed equity valuation of 532.5 million euros for the whole business.


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