Raymond Williams, the former head of HIH Insurance, has been jailed for up to a maximum of four and a half years for his part in the largest corporate collapse in Australia's business history.

Williams, who was the CEO of Australia’s former second largest insurance company, HIH, from 1998 to 2000, will serve at least two years and nine months in jail.

However, Williams avoided the maximum possible sentence of 12 years, which could have been handed out against the three charges of violating corporations law. The former HIH boss pleaded guilty to all three charges in December. Mr Williams has also been banned from acting as a company director for ten years.

The most serious of the three charges the 68-year-old former HIH CEO was convicted for was overstating HIH’s profit by A$92 million due to incorrect accounting of a reinsurance policy taken out with Hannover Re. This charge draws significant parallels with current investigations in the US into AIG’s practices and the role of its former head Maurice Greenberg.

Mr Williams is expected to appeal his sentence length on the grounds that it is excessive.

Meanwhile, William’s board colleague Rodney Adler was also jailed for a minimum term of two years and six months in related actions.