Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, criticized his opponent Sunday for “gambling on the life of a terminally ill individual” and making a “despicable investment.”

Cuccinelli, who has been lagging behind Democrat Terry McAuliffe in recent polls, seized on a report in The Washington Post to try to underscore what he said is his opponent’s “long history of shady business dealings.”

McAuliffe has said he was a “passive investor” in the deal, but at least some investors knew that they were betting on the lives of specific, dying individuals, The Post reported Sunday.

After a conference call with reporters, Cuccinelli released a series of documents, including a contract similar to the one he said McAuliffe would have likely signed in the case of a dying mechanic. The attorney general said McAuliffe had to have known what he was doing if he signed an insurance annuity contract with the individual’s name.

McAuliffe did not disclose the investment on 2009 economic interest forms filed with the state because of what his campaign said was advice from his attorney. Cuccinelli said his opponent was intentionally hiding a “ghoulish scheme” out of concern that “voters would find it disgusting.”

He called on McAuliffe to give his attorney permission to explain the rationale for omitting the investment from the state forms.