Indie directors accused of withholding claims data

Three directors of the former Independent Insurance Company were today
accused of dishonesty and misleading shareholders and fellow directors to
improve the public perception of the company’s finances.

Michael Bright, Philip Condon and Dennis Lomas, all former directors of the
insurer, appeared at Southwark Crown Court facing charges of conspiring to
defraud by dishonestly withholding claims data from the company’s actuaries,
Watson Wyatt.

The three stand accused of conspiring to defraud directors, shareholders and
other interested parties by dishonestly making incomplete disclosure of all
actual or proposed agreements between the Indie and its reinsurers.

In his opening speech, counsel for the prosectution Andrew Baillie QC told
the jury of four women and eight men that in the company’s annual report for the
year 2000, Michael Bright had given assurances that Independent was a ‘quality
operation’ that was ‘well placed’ to succeed in a competitive insurance market.

The QC said: ‘They said the future looked bright, but the truth was
different,’ but added that within three months of the report, the company had
collapsed. The QC told the court that the company had been making losses for
years but that the three men had dishonestly improved the perception of the
company by £250m. He clarified that the defendants were not accused of theft but
of altering the public’s perception of the company’s successes.

The case continues at 10am tomorrow.

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