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Equisure fires 'fake' boss

Investigations into Equisure, the British-run reinsurance company at the centre of fraud allegations in the US and Belgium, took a new twist this week when the company disclosed that its own chief executive had hidden his true identity behind a false name and a fictitious CV.

Equisure fired Peter d'Orleans-Clarke, a trouble shooter brought in to restore Equisure's reputation following the suspension of the company's shares by the American Stock Exchange last month, after the Independent on Sunday revealed that Mr Clarke had misled a US court over his background and qualifications.

Equisure, which trades from Monaco and Antwerp, claims that it hired Mr d'Orleans-Clarke, a British consultant, to rescue the company believing him to be a legal guru with connections to influential French families.

Equisure says that its own investigations have shown that in reality, Peter d'Orleans-Clarke is Peter Daniel Clarke, the owner of a rival Uruguayan- registered insurance company with alleged connections to "undesirable individuals based in Spain and Venezuela" according to the company's statement.

Clarke, who has not been seen since last week, "engineered with others to discredit" Equisure, ignored board directives and acted without the board's approval, the company claims.

The claims have astonished investigators in the American Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission, who are examining allegations of book keeping fraud and massive insider dealing. "It's difficult to know what to believe," said one investigator.

Allegations made in a US court that Equisure's former finance director, David Sachman, is in fact Paul Yorke-Wade, a reinsurance consultant and business associate of America's most notorious insurance fraudster, Alan Teale, have raised further questions about the company.