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ASIC Charges Against Former HIH Chairman

ASIC Charges Against Former HIH Chairman

LawFuel - The Law Jobs and Legal NewsWire

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has noted the decision of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) not to proceed further with one of two charges brought by ASIC against the former chairman of HIH Insurance Limited (HIH), Mr Geoffrey Cohen.

Mr Cohen was committed to stand trial on 27 April 2007 on one charge of knowingly giving misleading information. A second and related charge was transferred at that time to the Supreme Court of New South Wales with the intention that it would be dealt with following the outcome of Mr Cohen’s trial on the primary charge.

ASIC alleges that in the Chairman’s Address to Shareholders at the HIH Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 15 December 2000, Mr Cohen made misleading statements about the joint venture between Allianz Australia Ltd (Allianz) and HIH. These statements related to the effect of the joint venture on HIH’s cash flow and the payment of $200 million by Allianz to HIH.

The CDPP has declined to proceed further with the charge that Mr Cohen knowingly gave the misleading information. However, the CDPP is proceeding with the second, related charge alleging that Mr Cohen did not take reasonable steps to ensure that the information he gave to the shareholders at the HIH AGM was not misleading. This charge has been remitted to the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney.

Mr Cohen had his bail conditions continued and will next appear in the Downing Centre Local Court on 26 February 2008.


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