Ray Williams (businessman)

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Ray Williams
Raymond Reginald Williams

1937 (age 81–82)
Occupationformer Company director, HIH Insurance
Spouse(s)Rita Williams
Criminal penaltyfour years six months imprisonment

Raymond Reginald Williams (born 1937) is an Australian businessperson and corporate criminal. In 2005 he was imprisoned for a minimum of two years and nine months for filing false financial statements and failing his duty as a director.[1] After Williams' criminal conviction, charities began removing his name from their donor plaques,[2] and he was stripped of his Order of Australia medal by order of the Governor-General.[3][4]

HIH collapse[edit]

In 1968, Williams was a co-founder of "M W Payne Underwriting Agency Pty Ltd", which over time evolved into HIH Insurance. HIH collapsed in 2001 with debts estimated at up to A$5.3 billion, the largest corporate collapse to that date. On 15 April 2005, Williams was sentenced to 4 years 6 months jail with a non-parole period of 2 years 9 months, after pleading guilty to misleading HIH shareholders about the financial position of the company. Williams was also banned from leading an Australian corporation for ten years.[5]

Chief Justice Wood found in his judgement during the 2005 Royal Commission that Williams did not seek nor gain any financial advantage for his business mistakes nor was his criminal negligence the result of any deliberate deception.[6]


In the years prior to the HIH collapse, Willams transferred millions of dollars into his wife's name, which was used to purchase a luxury mansion and other property, assets and investments. The demise of HIH Insurance was Australia's biggest corporate collapse, and was the subject of a Royal Commission which led to the charges against Williams and his associates.[5] However, Williams was declared bankrupt in 2007 after losing everything due to the collapse.[7]

Release from jail[edit]

On 14 January 2008, with media helicopters circling overhead, Williams was released on parole from Silverwater Correctional Centre. Newspapers reported Williams was looking forward to retiring in the Sydney suburb of Seaforth, where his wife, Rita owns a luxury home.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carty, Lisa (13 January 2008). "I'm out of here". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  2. ^ Connolly, Ellen (13 January 2008). "Ray Williams out of jail". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 13 January 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  3. ^ Hazell, Malcolm (1 December 2005). "ORDER OF AUSTRALIA" (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2008.
  4. ^ Vermeer, Tony (15 January 2006). "Williams loses OA award". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 22 January 2008.[dead link]
  5. ^ a b O'Brien, Natalie (14 January 2008). "Ray Williams to go free, HIH pain lingers". The Australian. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  6. ^ "Ray Williams: the full judgement". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 April 2005. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  7. ^ Carty, Lisa (13 January 2008). "No more cleaning toilets for former HIH boss". The Brisbane Times. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  8. ^ Bibby, Paul (14 January 2008). "HIH boss out of jail". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 January 2008.

External links[edit]

  • HIH file from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)