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StanChart, Commerzbank among defendants in Steinhoff lawsuit

Shareholders of furniture manufacturer Steinhoff International Holdings NV have filed a lawsuit targeting several companies, including Standard Chartered PLC and Commerzbank AG, in an attempt to recover lost money, Bloomberg News reported Aug. 10.

The shareholders are suing the furniture giant for up to €12 billion in compensation related to losses on Steinhoff shares purchased between June 2013 and December 2017, the newswire noted. They have applied for class-action status in a Johannesburg court.

Shares in Steinhoff fell more than 90% in December 2017 after the company postponed the release of financial results and flagged a potential balance sheet shortfall. It later reached a debt restructuring agreement with creditors over more than €9 billion in debt.

The investors' suit also targets Absa Bank Ltd. and auditing firms Deloitte and Roedl & Partner, alongside ex-CEO Markus Jooste, former Chairman Christo Wiese and former CFO Ben la Grange. A Steinhoff spokesperson said no court papers have been received relating to the case, according to the report.