Saipan Casino Operator’s Offices Raided By Feds
By Bob Garcia
FBI officials raided the offices of Imperial Pacific International Holdings (IPI), operators of the Saipan Casino, located in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), this week. The cause of the bureau’s intervention in the casino is still unknown but speculation is growing.
Local news Marianas Variety reported the FBI executed a warrant to search the construction offices of the company. The team, composed of four FBI agents, a US Marshall and local police blocked off the building and closed off entrances with yellow tape.
The raid might come as a result of large sums of money being wagered at the Best Sunshine Live, IPI’s temporary casino located in a high-end shopping mall. In February, the US Department of Justice had conducted a weeklong training session for local gaming regulators on anti-money laundering responsibilities.
Since CNMI fall under US territories it is also under US financial oversight.
However, another possible reason for the FBI’s intervention is the death of a construction worker at the Saipan casino site. Several parties involved in the project to build the Imperial Pacific Resort Hotel and Casino Saipan had been issuing warnings regarding safety violations and potential risks. The project is rushing to complete its build by end of this week and was subject to the tragic death.
In the wake of this raid IPI has also settled a pending lawsuit with it former VP of table games operation at the temporary Best Sunshine Live. The suit was over the wrongful termination of the employee who claims to have refused to go along with IPI’s instructions on how to structure financial transactions to avoid US federal monitoring. IPI rejected allegations and the reason for the FBI raid remains unconfirmed.