COLOGNE Re Dublin, the scandal-hit reinsurance company whose activities earned Ireland the tag of the "wild west" of global finance, has been wound up.
The winding up took place on 18 May, according to documents just filed at the Companies Registration Office. Once its liabilities are paid off, the company, controlled by the world's second-richest man Warren Buffett, will have a surplus of €30m to distribute to its owner.
According to the statement of its assets and liabilities, Cologne Re will pay corporation tax of €4.6m. It had total assets of €118m, including securities valued at €114m. Its liabilities, apart from the Irish tax bill, include dividends of €81m to be disbursed.
Cologne Re is being wound up on foot of a settlement between the company and the powerful US financial regulator, the Securities & Exchange Commission. The SEC ordered Cologne Re to stop writing new business in 2005 after it began an investigation of the company's transactions with US insurer AIG.
The SEC said Cologne Re unit engaged in "sham transactions" with AIG that inflated that company's accounts. The former chief executive of Cologne Re Dublin, John Houldsworth, was sentenced by a US court to two years' probation for his role in the scam. He had previously been banned from doing any transactions in Australia after the collapse of an insurance company there.
The SEC said officials at Cologne Re and its parent company Gen Re "helped AIG structure the two sham transactions. The contracts show reinsurance transactions that appeared to transfer risk to AIG, but the transactions did not transfer risk", it said.
At its peak, Cologne Re employed about 30 people in Ireland.