Former HIH Insurance chief executive Ray Williams will appeal a jail sentence of nearly three years handed down today for crimes committed at the failed insurance company.
The 68-year-old founder of the company involved in Australia’s biggest-ever corporate collapse was today sentenced to least two years and nine months in jail, with a maximum term of four years and six months.
Williams’ lawyer Robert Heathcote said the sentence was “manifestly excessive” and would be appealed immediately.
The sentence follows yesterday’s jailing of former HIH board colleague Rodney Adler for a minimum term of two years and six months. Adler has no plans to appeal.
Williams showed no reaction as NSW Supreme Court Justice James Wood handed down the sentence today.
He had faced a maximum of 12 years in jail under the charges against him.
But outside court Mr Heathcote said: “Mr Williams is bitterly disappointed in the sentence handed down this morning.
“The defence regards the sentence as manifestly excessive.”
In sentencing, Justice Wood said Williams’ early guilty pleas were taken into account but the three criminal charges against him were still “objectively serious”.
One offence in which Williams signed off on a company report which overstated operating profits by $92 million “involves serious criminality”, the judge said.
Williams pleaded guilty to making misleading statements about the financial position of HIH, being reckless and failing in his duties as a director, and authorising a misleading document to raise money for the company.