Shareholder Group VEB Plans Lawsuit Against Three Banks Over Steinhoff – FT

A Dutch shareholder group has given notice that it plans to file a class action lawsuit against Barclays Plc, Commerzbank AG and Absa Bank Ltd over their roles in a 2015 share sale by South African retailer Steinhoff International, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.


A man walks past a branch of South Africa's retail bank, Absa, in Cape Town, file. EUTERS/Mike Hutchings
A man walks past a branch of South Africa’s retail bank, Absa, in Cape Town, file. EUTERS/Mike Hutchings

As required by Dutch law, shareholder group VEB gave the three banks two weeks’ notice of its plan to file the lawsuit and invited them to open talks on “an amicable settlement”, the report said.

VEB maintained the banks are “liable for damages incurred by Steinhoff shareholders” because of their roles in the listing of Steinhoff on the Frankfurt and Johannesburg stock exchanges as part of its creation of a holding company in Amsterdam, the FT said.

Steinhoff declined to comment. VEB, Barclays, Commerzbank, and Absa were not immediately available for comment outside regular business hours.

Steinhoff, which has more than 40 retail brands including France’s Conforama and British chain Poundland, faced a fight for survival after admitting accounting irregularities in December, wiping about 85 percent off its market value and triggering a liquidity crisis.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Adrian Croft


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