‘Markus Jooste in a few years’: German businessman fakes death, living with mistress

A German billionaire businessman who faked his death and is presumed to be living with his mistress in another country has been compared to South Africa’s Markus Jooste.

Like the former Steinhoff CEO, Karl-Erivan Haub led a multinational holding company in the retail industry. Both men are also alleged to have mistresses, with whom they’ve financially supported.

According to a latest report, police cannot confirm the death of Jooste, who allegedly died by suicide last month.


In 2018, Tengelmann CEO Karl-Erivan Haub mysteriously disappeared while on a ski trip in Switzerland.

As an experienced skier, he had planned to participate in the Patrouille des Glaciers, the world’s biggest ski touring race, which he has done for several years.

A week after going missing, Haub’s family gave up the search, presuming him to be dead. He was legally proclaimed dead three years later, in 2021. This search was officially called off a few months later by authorities

According to the Associated Press, during this time, his younger brother Christian was appointed as CEO in his absence. 

Fast forward to the present, and an investigation has revealed that Haub is allegedly living under an assumed identity in Moscow alongside his Russian spy mistress Veronika Ermilova, reports the Express.

On social media, many have compared the German businessman’s actions to SA’s Markus Jooste, who has also seemingly disappeared without a trace.

Last month, Jooste allegedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on a Hermanus beach.

The 63-year-old’s mysterious death came a day after he had been slapped with a R475 million fine for accounting fraud at multinational holding company Steinhoff.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority, he had been notified of a warrant of arrest in his name.

Like Haub, Jooste was allegedly dating a younger lover, mistress Berdine Odendaal, claimed the Daily Maverick.

Responding to a tweet about Haub, X user @GermanTank_BW posted: “I know a couple of millionaires who are dead but living large elsewhere.”

This is the exclusive Millionaire/ Billionaire Club

This Club is good at disappearing

Gavin Watson Marcus Jooste pic.twitter.com/Rj5BJZzc4x

— Maki Marish (@MakiMarish) April 18, 2024

@sweerie_ tweeted: “Markus Jooste in 6 years”, while @SaraMahomed1 added: “Markus will surface as well….just a matter of time.”

Even radio and TV personality Anele Mdoda weighed in, tweeting: “Markus Jooste’s neighbour.”

Marcus Jooste’s neighbour. https://t.co/Fe2Jejo83H

— Anele Mdoda (@Anele) April 17, 2024


According to Sunday Independent, police still have no information regarding the death or location of Markus Jooste’s body.

The businessman is believed to have shot himself in the head on the rocks of the Kwaaiwater Beach in Hermanus, near his holiday home.

Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut claimed that queries on the whereabouts of the body in relation to pathology and mortuary should be directed to the Department of Health. 

He said:  “The number of police officers responding to an emergency, on the other hand, is indeed an SAPS-related matter… Due to operational reasons, deployment figures are not released to the media.

Police are still unable to confirm the death of former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste.
Image via YouTube screenshot: CNBC Africa

“In conclusion, kindly be advised that the death inquest case docket with regards to the death of Markus Jooste is still under investigation, and there are no new developments to report at this stage.”

With no news of a body, authorities have also remained mum on a funeral service for Markus Jooste.