A North Carolina judge refused to overturn insurance magnate Greg Lindberg's conviction on bribery charges and also denied a motion for a new trial.
Lindberg, a Durham, N.C., billionaire, was convicted of using the promise of millions in campaign money to bribe state insurance commissioner Mike Causey. Lindberg owns Global Bankers Insurance Group, a managing company for several insurance and reinsurance companies.
Lindberg's lawyers submitted a 69-page document, claiming court errors, the government failed to meet the standard of "beyond reasonable doubt," and that Lindberg was entrapped by Causey. Lindberg has filed a separate lawsuit against Causey that is pending.
Judge Max O. Cogburn was not swayed by the appeal, denying every claim in a 55-page response.
"In sum, the Court’s instructions of law regarding criminal intent were correct, and the jury reasonably applied those instructions to find that the defendants’ actions were undertaken with the specific intent to influence an official act," the judge wrote.
The federal jury also found Lindberg associate John Gray guilty on two public corruption charges. Associate John Palermo was found not guilty. Lindberg and Gray could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for one of the charges and up to 10 additional years on the other.
Sued By Insurer
Meanwhile, a New York judge granted a final judgment Tuesday, ordering an insurer controlled by Lindberg to pony up $524 million to cover a reinsurance agreement guaranty. Universal Life Insurance Company, based in Puerto Rico, sued Lindberg over a pledge to back PB Life and Annuity Company, a Bermuda-based insurer he controls.
According to court documents, Universal Life and PB Life were party to a reinsurance agreement struck in 2017. The agreement states that Lindberg is financially responsible should PB Life fail to meet its obligations to Universal Life.
Earlier this year, Universal Life alleged that PB fell out of compliance with the reinsurance agreement. More than 65% of the assets in a reinsurance trust account were in the form of loans, far exceeding the 10% allowed under the agreement, Universal Life attorneys pointed out.
Universal Life demanded an immediate $524 million deposit into the account, a request PB Life declined to meet. The dispute went to arbitration, where a panel sided with Universal Life in June.
In court documents, Lindberg blamed the ongoing court action in North Carolina for tying up his assets. He released a letter from Berkeley Research Group, a consultant hired to review Lindberg's companies and his finances. BRG found the ongoing legal actions in North Carolina amounted to $400 million in damages.
In addition, according to the letter, BRG "estimates that Mr. Lindberg’s personal net worth is between $860 million and $1.46 billion, net of liabilities of between $2.6 billion and $2.7 billion including the debts of the affiliated companies."
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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