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Former HIH chair committed to stand trial


SYDNEY, Australia—The former chairman of HIH Insurance Ltd. was committed to stand trial on criminal charges for his role in the collapse of the company.

In the Downing Centre Local Court Friday, Geoffrey Cohen was committed to stand trail on charges of giving misleading information in his address to shareholders at the HIH annual general meeting on Dec. 15, 2000

HIH became Australia's largest ever corporate collapse when it failed in 2001. Several officers of the company have been jailed for their role in the collapse, while many other former employees have been banned by the Australian insurance regulator.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission alleges that at the AGM, Mr. Cohen made misleading statements about the joint venture between Allianz Australia Insurance Ltd., a unit of Munich, Germany-based Allianz S.E., and HIH.

Those statements, according to ASIC, related to the effect of the joint venture on HIH's cash flow and a payment by Allianz to HIH.

Mr. Cohen's bail conditions were continued and he will appear in the New South Wales Supreme Court on June 1.