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APRA bars former Zurich Australian CFO


SYDNEY, Australia--The former chief financial officer of Zurich Australian Insurance Ltd., which admitted last year to misrepresenting financial reinsurance transactions over a five-year period, has been barred from holding a leadership position in an insurance company.

John Stanbridge on Wednesday was disqualified by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority from acting as director or senior manager of a general insurer, authorized nonoperating holding company or agent of a foreign general insurer.

Last year, APRA said an investigation of Zurich Australian and another unit of Zurich Financial Services Group, Zurich Financial Services Australia Ltd., found deliberate misrepresentations about the nature and accounting treatment of loss-portfolio transfers and related contracts.

These resulted in Zurich Australian Insurance Ltd.'s 2000 profits being overstated by $61 million Australian ($34.1 million) and made it appear that the company met regulatory solvency requirements when in fact it did not, APRA said. The regulator said last year that the insurer now met those solvency requirements.

Mr. Stanbridge served as Zurich Australian's CFO from November 1999 to November 2001. APRA said its assessment of others who may have been involved in the transactions is continuing.