Authorities in Germany are working on an extradition request for former Steinhoff boss Markus Jooste.
Jooste is wanted in Germany on two counts of fraud that could put him behind bars for up to three years.
Two months ago, a regional court in Oldenburg issued a warrant of arrest against Jooste, after he failed to appear for the start of his fraud trial. Jooste lost his appeal against the warrant last month.
A spokesperson for the Oldenburg court said on Monday that extradition proceedings would be started with the help of the Oldenburg public prosecutor’s office.
“Since this is a formal procedure, it will probably take some time,” said Isabelle Möllers.
Jooste has repeatedly declined to comment on the court proceedings he is facing.
“To my knowledge, there has been no contact with the South African authorities yet,” said Möllers, adding that the extradition itself would be handled by federal authorities.
Lawyers have warned that it will be an uphill battle for authorities in Germany to extradite the former Steinhoff boss successfully without his cooperation.
While South Africa and Germany are both members of the European Extradition Convention, neither country generally extradites its own citizens.
Dr Julius Hagen, an attorney at German law firm Schlun & Elseven, told News24 that the extradition of a SA national to Germany would violate the principle of reciprocity.
“The principle of reciprocity states that the country requesting extradition also grants it to the requested country in similar cases,” said Hagen.
“Due to the fact that the German constitution prohibits the extradition of its own nationals to non-EU-countries, Germany would not grant a corresponding request of South Africa.
“Germany would be asking South Africa for a favour that would not be returned,” he added.
Source : News24