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Man accused in Aruba disappearance sued over $1.5 million policy

From Tina Burnside, CNN
updated 7:31 PM EDT, Tue September 11, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Company says Giordano does not have a right to collect on $1.5 million policy
  • Giordano was detained in the disappearance of the woman on whom he had a life insurance policy
  • He was released after being detained for about four months

(CNN) -- An American Express insurance company is suing a Maryland man, who was accused in the Aruba disappearance of his traveling companion, in an effort to void a $1.5 million insurance policy he took out on her.

Amex Assurance Company claims that Gary Giordano does not have a right to collect on the big dollar life insurance policy he obtained on his companion Robyn Gardner because their relationship was "casual and non-exclusive," according to the lawsuit.

Giordano, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was thrust into the spotlight last year when Gardner went missing during the couple's trip in Aruba. Gardner, 35, also of Maryland was last seen August 2, 2011. Giordano told authorities the two were snorkeling when she disappeared and he filed a missing person report.

Aruba authorities detained Giordano and held him until late November and said they were suspicious about the $1.5 million life insurance policy he took out on Gardner days before they traveled to the Caribbean island.

Aruba suspect's body language examined
'Aruba dropped the ball'

Giordano, 51, was released because Aruban authorities said they did not have enough evidence and Giordano acknowledged in later interviews that he did inquire about the life insurance policy two days after Gardner disappeared.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Maryland federal court, also alleges that Giordano did not tell the truth when he filled out the life insurance form indicating that Gardner was a "partner."

The two were not married and did not fit any of the other strict definitions the company designates as partner, the lawsuit said.

In June, Giordano sued Amex Assurance Company for $3.5 million for the death claim.

But "nowhere in that complaint is there an explanation for defendant Giordano's assertion that he is entitled to recover $3,500,000," Amex Assurance Company lawsuit says.

The company said it is also seeking damages against Giordano.

In an unrelated case, Giordano was arrested in a Maryland parking garage in May for indecent exposure along with a Tennessee woman after police found them unclothed in the back of a Cadillac Escalade.

Two passersby complained to a garage employee about the SUV, and when the employee located the vehicle, he observed a woman and man cuddled together, with the man not wearing any clothes, according to an Annapolis Police Department report.

Police found the couple partially covered by a blanket and laying on a single mattress in the back of the SUV, and one officer shined his light into the vehicle to gain the couple's attention, the report said.

"While we recognize that Mr. Giordano enjoys an infamous reputation, the Annapolis arrest was simply a matter of effective police work in response to citizen complaints," Annapolis Chief Michael Pristoop said at the time.

CNN's Arielle Hawkins contributed to this report.

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