Attorneys, investigators, try to unwind business empire behind NC insurance tycoon convicted of bribery ::

— Testimony begun Monday in a civil lawsuit versus a gentleman who was as soon as North Carolina’s most significant political donor but is now serving federal time for trying to bribe the state’s insurance coverage commissioner.

Greg Lindberg’s have insurance plan organizations, taken more than by the point out numerous years in the past, sued him in Wake County Outstanding Courtroom, accusing him of funneling business hard cash to himself. Lindberg himself monitored proceedings virtually Monday, from the jail camp in Alabama wherever he is serving far more than seven decades.

The testimony was dense and technical as lawyers set the stage for their try to unwind the would-be billionaire’s sophisticated enterprise preparations. They want Remarkable Court Decide Graham Shirley to drive Lindberg to stay up to a memorandum of knowing he signed with the providers in 2019 and repay financial loans his insurance policies corporations created to other businesses he also owns.

That MOU is the crux of the case. The four providers, with a point out-appointed rehabilitator calling the shots, argue it was a binding settlement never lived up to, which endangered other corporation investors and individuals who purchased annuities from the organizations but might under no circumstances get their promised return.

Lindberg’s legal crew suggests the MOU was basically an “settlement to agree,” not an enforceable agreement.

Lou Hensley, formerly main executive of Lindberg’s coverage businesses, testified Monday that he could not remember how several of Lindberg’s corporations insurance coverage firm cash went to. He said lots of of people firms ended up additional engaged in transactions with each other and that it was difficult to get an correct snapshot of them at a given time.

“It was virtually not possible,” Hensley mentioned Monday. “It was generally shifting.”

Lindberg and his lawful workforce have acknowledged his expense technique was intricate, but he denies any wrongdoing. He mentioned final 12 months that the lawsuit is “loaded with inaccurate and reckless allegations.”

There are indications federal investigators are also fascinated in Lindberg’s web of investments. Filings from this civil situation, unsealed very last calendar year, display that the state-appointed rehabilitator overseeing the coverage providers been given a federal subpoena probing the probable of economic fraud.

The FBI and federal prosecutors in the Western District of North Carolina, the place the subpoena was issued, have declined remark. It truly is not known where that inquiry stands, but the Western District is also where Lindberg was prosecuted last calendar year on different bribery fees.

Insurance plan businesses crank out hard cash move from month to month premiums, and Lindberg took these rates and invested them in other providers he owned.

This is not abnormal in the insurance policy business enterprise. What is abnormal is how often he did it. The industry common is to commit up to 10 per cent of holdings in these “affiliated corporations,” according to industry professionals, regulators and testimony made available Monday at trial. Far more is regarded dangerous.

Greg Lindberg (top right) monitors testimony in a civil case filed against him in Wake County from a federal prison camp in Alabama where he is serving time for bribery. July 21, 2021.

At just one stage, Lindberg’s companies invested 40 per cent in affiliated firms, some thing previous Coverage Commissioner Wayne Goodwin’s administration signed off on when Lindberg moved his organizations to North Carolina.

Goodwin lost his re-election bid in 2016, and he worked briefly for Lindberg as a guide immediately after that. Lindberg was also a major campaign donor, but Goodwin has said consistently that he never took any motion in return for contributions, that he cooperated with federal investigators and that he was by no means a focus on of their inquiry.

In early 2019 The Wall Road Journal revealed a deep-dive into Lindberg’s empire, suggesting that insurance policy premiums invested through shell companies assisted finance his lavish way of life. Among the his holdings at the time: The most high-priced personal dwelling ever acquired in Raleigh and a 214-foot yacht called the “Double Down.”

This was all prior to Lindberg was indicted, and at some point convicted, of attempting to bribe condition Insurance coverage Commissioner Mike Causey, who had defeated Goodwin in the 2016 elections.

Causey’s crew pressed Lindberg and his corporations to significantly slash their affiliated investments, and Lindberg supplied marketing campaign contributions if Causey would get a particularly bothersome regulator off his again.

He also lobbied the point out legislature to modify North Carolina regulation in a way that would have enable him hold holding additional income in these investments, but the effort and hard work was unsuccessful.

There were being 11 attorneys in the courtroom Monday as the civil scenario, Southland v. Lindberg, received underway. Driving them, 33 binders of depositions and other proof crammed just about far more than 50 % a courtroom bench or ended up lined up on the floor.

The organizations, Southland Countrywide, Bankers Everyday living, Colorado Bankers Everyday living and Countrywide Reinsurance, mentioned in court filings before in the situation that they face a opportunity shortfall of a lot more than $1 billion and that policy holders could see “critical losses” from the annuities the corporations marketed.

Condition insurance regulators explained Monday the organizations have additional than 177,000 policy holders, including about 4,000 in North Carolina.

Lindberg questioned continuously to attend the demo, which may very last several months, in man or woman and to be allow out of prison to attend a memorial provider for his father, who died a short while ago. The federal Bureau of Prisons denied his request, as did the judge in his federal felony scenario in North Carolina and another federal judge in Alabama.

In 1 of the filings, Lindberg provided letters of guidance from various people​ he’s executing time with, who reported he’s educating an entrepreneurship course at the jail.

To a male, they sang his praises.

“He is a pillar in the neighborhood,” one particular wrote. “Even although I’ve known him for a limited time period of time, I imagine that he justifies a second likelihood. … The world awaits his return. Hopefully you will digest this letter and set this beneficial energy power named Greg Lindberg no cost.”