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SEC, former RenRe exec enter partial settlement


WASHINGTON--A former RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. executive has entered a partial settlement of civil fraud charges leveled by federal regulators for allegedly participating in a sham reinsurance deal designed to smooth millions in company earnings.

Martin J. Merritt--who previously served in various roles at Hamilton, Bermuda-based RenaissanceRe's holding company and its Renaissance Reinsurance Ltd. subsidiary, and as RenaissanceRe's controller from at least 2000 through March 2005--agreed to enter the partial settlement without admitting or denying the allegations, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Mr. Merritt, former Chairman and Chief Executive James N. Stanard and former Senior Vp Michael Cash were named in a September SEC complaint alleging they played various roles in carrying out a two-part phony reinsurance transaction between RenaissanceRe and Inter-Ocean Reinsurance Co. Ltd. in 2001.

Mr. Merritt "engaged in improper accounting for the transaction in a departure from generally accepted accounting principles, and made material misrepresentations and omissions about the transaction to RenRe's independent auditors," the SEC said in its announcement.

Mr. Merritt is the only individual to resolve any of the commission's charges. As part of the settlement, he is barred from "appearing or practicing before the commission as an accountant," the SEC said.

The SEC has deferred resolution of any civil penalties and disgorgement against Mr. Merritt.