Former Steinhoff CEO Jooste, associates fined 241 million rand for insider trading

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JOHANNESBURG, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Former Steinhoff chief executive Markus Jooste and three of his associates have been fined 241 million rand ($14.91 million) by South Africa's financial sector conduct authority (FSCA) for insider trading, the regulator said on Friday.

Jooste was fined an administrative penalty of 161.6 million rand, the FSCA said, after an investigation found he had sent text messages to four friends and associates onNov. 30 2017, warning them before a steep fall in Steinhoff share price over an account scandal involving billions of rand.

The remainder of the fine applies to recipients of the text messages who acted on the information.

Steinhoff has suffered hefty losses and a stream of lawsuits since revealing holes in its accounts in December 2017, the first sign of a fraud estimated to total $7 billion and from which it is still battling to recover.

"The penalty of 161,568,068 million rand imposed on Mr Jooste includes a multiple of three times the losses avoided due to the transactions executed by the recipients of the warning SMS," the FSCA said in the statement.

Earlier in October the Johannesburg Stock Exchange fined the company 13.5 million rand for listing irregularities, including by publishing false and misleading information. But the fine by the FSCA is among the first to target individual executives.

($1 = 16.1622 rand)

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana Editing by Tim Cocks)

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