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Poundland set to continue Epsom Hill sponsorship despite accounting scandal



Jockey Club Racecourses said it was looking forward to continuing its association with Poundland, the high street chain that sponsors the Hill at the Derby, after the racehorse-owning chief executive of the company which owns the business was forced to quit over claims of accounting irregularities.

Shares in Steinhoff International, which bought Poundland in September last year, plunged by over 80 per cent following South African Markus Jooste's resignation over what is being described as potentially the largest accountancy scandal in South African corporate history.

In a letter of apology to staff, Jooste was reported to have admitted to some "big mistakes" as Steinhoff, which employs over 130,000 people in 30 countries, postponed the announcement of its financial results and investigations began in South Africa and Germany, where it is listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Steinhoff said in a statement: "The supervisory board of Steinhoff advised shareholders that new information has come to light which relates to accounting irregularities requiring further investigation.

"Markus Jooste, CEO of Steinhoff has tendered his resignation with immediate effect and the board has accepted the resignation."

Jooste owns racehorses around the world, including in Britain and Ireland, and was a significant buyer at the recent yearling sales. His best-known horse was South African champion Variety Club, who won the Champions Mile in Hong Kong in 2014

At Steinhoff, Jooste has overseen several years of overseas expansion including Poundland, which this year secured branding rights on the Hill, as part of the deal in which Investec extended its sponsorship of the Derby.

A Jockey Club spokesperson said: "We have a long-term agreement with Poundland and we look forward to them helping to bring to life the Hill at the 2018 Investec Derby Festival."



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