Exit by Hafnia bosses

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The Independent Online
FOUR senior executives of the troubled Danish insurance group Hafnia Holding have departed in the past 10 days, after a succession of secret financial irregularities emerged, writes Andrew Draper.

The revelations have dented market confidence just as the group is undertaking a last- ditch attempt to stay alive and independent through a Dkr2bn ( pounds 177m) rights issue.

The country's second-biggest insurer had its credit rating downgraded several notches by the Standard & Poor's rating agency on Thursday.

Hafnia's problems may force it to sell some of its extensive UK interests in a string of companies owned by Hafnia Holdings (UK) that offer life and accident insurance and a range of financial services.

The companies include Hafnia Prolific, an offshore unit trust company based on the Isle of Man.

The present round of problems started last week when Hafnia asked for its shares to be suspended on the Copenhagen, London and Frankfurt stock exchanges - the day before its one-for-two rights issue was due to begin - because of the discovery of what it called 'unusual contracts'.

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