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Steinhoff expects Dutch court to reject JV partner petition, decision in two months

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JOHANNESBURG, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Steinhoff said it had presented its arguments to a Dutch court and was certain a petition made by a former joint venture partner, seeking a probe into the South African group's accounts, would be dismissed within the next two months.

The firm, also under scrutiny for alleged accounting fraud in Germany, has previously said that legal and external audit firms it had appointed had concluded there was no evidence of any wrongdoing.

OM Handels GmbH and MW Handels GmbH, owned by the former JV partner, had filed the petition with the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, asking the court to order a probe into the group's annual accounts.

"Steinhoff ... presented its position to the court and remains confident that the arguments, supported by independent lawyers and legal opinions will lead to the rejection of the petition," it said in a statement.

"The chamber will now deliberate and Steinhoff expects a court decision to be presented within the next two months."

The petition came on the heels of news about German prosecutors investigating some current and former executives from Steinhoff, Europe's No. 2 furniture retailer after IKEA, for suspected accounting fraud.

Earlier this week, Steinhoff's African unit made its market debut, surging nearly 10 percent, as investors looked past its parent company's legal wrangles in Europe and piled into the continent's retail powerhouse. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Himani Sarkar)