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SA Reserve Bank Seizes Millions In Cash And Property From Markus Jooste’s Alleged Former Partner

According to the published notice, the state will be confiscating funds from five of Odendaal's bank accounts.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has taken decisive action by confiscating R42.1 million in cash and an R18 million property from Berdine Odendaal, who is rumoured to be the former romantic partner of Markus Jooste.

This seizure comes just days before the expiration of a deadline to confiscate her assets. The funds and assets will be deposited in the state’s National Revenue Fund, as stated in the notice and order of forfeiture published in a special gazette on Monday.

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According to the published notice, the state will be confiscating funds from five of Odendaal’s bank accounts. Additionally, an R18 million property in Odendaal’s name, located in the exclusive Val de Vie estate outside Paarl, will be seized. This property has been her residence for several years.

The SA Reserve Bank initially blocked Odendaal’s accounts in late April 2021 after discovering that she had received R60 million in loans from a company connected to the late Steinhoff CEO, Markus Jooste.

The bank suspected that Jooste and Steinhoff had violated exchange control regulations when bringing these funds into South Africa. The bank had a three-year window from the date the assets were blocked to declare them forfeit. Failure to seize them by late April or early May this year would have resulted in the assets being returned to Odendaal.

It is important to note that Markus Jooste’s own assets, including a family trust worth over R1 billion, were frozen by the SARB in October 2022. The former Steinhoff CEO tragically died by suicide in Hermanus on March 21, just a day before he was due to surrender to the Hawks, a specialized South African law enforcement unit.

This forfeiture order against Odendaal appears to bring her lengthy legal battle against the central bank to a close. Following the freezing of her assets in April 2021, she attempted to have the bank cover her legal fees and monthly expenses.

While an agreement was initially reached for the bank to cover her living expenses, including the stabling of her polo ponies, negotiations broke down when she demanded the bank also finance her legal fees. At the time of writing, Odendaal’s legal representative has not responded to requests for comment.

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Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SA
Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SAhttps://new.surgezirc.co.za
Elize Coetzee, a seasoned journalist, is the driving force behind SurgeZirc SA’s world news and world politics coverage. With an unwavering commitment to truth, Elize delves into global affairs, providing live updates, in-depth investigations, and thought-provoking analysis. Whether it’s geopolitical tensions, international diplomacy, or breaking stories, Elize’s incisive reporting keeps readers informed and engaged.
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