Steinhoff has said that its 2016 financial results need to be restated as the original release can “no longer be relied upon”.

The South African retail conglomerate, which postponed its 2017 financial results last week due to “accounting irregularities”, said it is “taking all necessary steps to address the audit issues”.

The retail group, which saw its shares crash as a result of the accounting issue, has said that the elements of its European division that have come under scrutiny in its latest financial results are also relevant to its financial update the previous year.

Steinhoff said that, as a result, “issues concerning the validity and recoverability of certain Steinhoff Europe balance sheet assets under scrutiny in the 2017 audit work are also relevant to the 2016 consolidated financial statements”.

The South African giant’s former boss Markus Jooste stepped down last week as a result of the accounting probe.

Steinhoff, which owns 40 retail brands across 30 countries including Poundland, Harveys and Bensons for Beds in the UK, has been under investigation for suspected accounting irregularities by state prosecutors in Germany since 2015.

The retail group has appointed PwC to carry out an independent investigation of the accounting irregularities and has also drafted in Moelis and AlixPartners to advise on talks with lenders and assist on liquidity management respectively.