Nathan Skinner reports on the continuing Independent fraud case

Tension in Southwark Crown Court reached new heights this week when Independent’s former reinsurance advisers took to the stand.

The crux of the debate revolves around a suite of contracts that Independent negotiated with its major reinsurer ERC, at the beginning of 2001. Prosecutors argued that Indie’s directors, concerned about company finances, were anxious to sign deals to protect their reserves. In exchange, Independent had to commit to a number of ERC friendly “payback” agreements.

Indie’s chief reinsurance adviser, Terry Masters, presented the events surrounding the contract negotiations.

Defence council argued that Masters had not done a good job of explaining the contracts to his clients. The witness was grilled by Michael Bright’s counsel over his presenting of a contract to the company chairman for his signature without even reading it.

On Monday a juror was dismissed on grounds of being unreliable, Judge Rivlin told the remaining eleven jurors that both sides had agreed with the decision. Michael Bright, Philip Condon and Dennis Lomas deny charges of conspiracy to defraud. The case continues.