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Ex-Anbang Insurance CEO gets jail time; ANZ gets final bids for OnePath Life

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

Anbang Insurance woes

* Former Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. Chairman and CEO Wu Xiaohui has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. The Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court said Wu's behavior constituted fraudulent fundraising and embezzlement, ruling that 10.5 billion yuan will be confiscated from Wu.

* Anbang Insurance Group is now reviewing its overseas assets. The insurer said that meeting with investment banks is "one necessary step" in the process of reviewing its overseas assets, though it currently does not have any disposal plans yet.

* Meanwhile, Sino-Ocean Group Holding Ltd.'s subsidiary Sino-Ocean Land Ltd. agreed to acquire a 50% stake in Beijing Bangbang Zhiye Co. Ltd. from Anbang subsidiary Beijing Anbang Hexie Zhiye Co. Ltd. The move aims to ramp up Sino-Ocean Group's strategic cooperation with Anbang Insurance, which holds a roughly 29.7% stake in the company.

M&A buzz

* Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. has reportedly received final bids for New Zealand-based life insurance business OnePath Life Ltd., including one from Partners Life Ltd.

* U.S.-based Blackstone Group LP and Warburg Pincus LLC are reportedly interested in acquiring minority stakes in India's Max Financial Services Ltd., as the company seeks to raise funds for a potential acquisition in the insurance sector. The two private equity firms are in separate talks to invest in the Indian insurer, sources said.

* Australia-based Ensurance Ltd. is evaluating nonbinding purchase offers for its retail brokerage businesses in the country. The potential disposal of the business is part of a strategy to build the company's operations overseas, predominantly as a managing general agent.

* South Korean financial groups Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd., KB Financial Group Inc. and Hana Financial Group Inc. are reportedly interested in acquiring stakes in life insurers that are up for sale, including ING Life Insurance Korea Ltd.

Regulatory actions

* The Indian government is reportedly considering allowing full foreign direct investment in insurance intermediaries to boost the sector and attract more funds.

* Australia's securities regulator permanently banned Antonino Gucciardi, a former insurance broker and authorized representative of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.'s Australian unit, from the financial services industry for engaging in dishonest conduct.

In other news

* People's Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd. said it changed its registered address to 1st-13th Floors, No. 88 West Chang'an Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing, effective April 27.

* Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. obtained regulatory approval from Luxembourg's Commissariat aux Assurances and the Japanese Financial Services Authority to set up an insurance unit in Luxembourg.

* Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. has finalized its reinsurance arrangements with Zurich Insurance Group AG after receiving about A$1 billion of reinsurance proceeds as part of a deal to sell OnePath Life Ltd.

* Life Insurance Corp. (Nepal) Ltd. has signed a bancassurance agreement with Shangri-la Development Bank, making its products available across the lender's 40 branches.

* Sri Lanka's Ceylinco Insurance PLC raised its final dividend for 2017 to 31.50 Sri Lankan rupees per share, up from the prior-year dividend of 27.50 rupees per share.

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