When the Hong Kong based Imperial Pacific Holdings decided to invest into Saipan and develop a multi-million dollar casino resort, it was expected to be a game changer for Saipan which is part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
However, it’s turned out to be quite a nightmare for the CNMI government as Imperial Pacific (CNMI) LLC which is the registered company in the CNMI has been unable to keep its promises regarding the development and running of the casino resort.
The temporary Saipan casino initially had a good start as it was attracting VIP clientele from around the world and was bringing in revenues.
However, Imperial Pacific CNMI has been dogged with controversies which include financial problems, bringing in illegal construction workers, money laundering allegations and a fire which delayed the development of the casino.
The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) has been very lenient with the casino operator in the past and has received flak from different groups for playing into the hands of the casino operator. The CCC recently highlighted the fact that Imperial Pacific did not pay the $15.5 casino license fee which was due to 12 August, 2020 based on the Casino License Agreement.
The CCC also pointed out that Imperial Pacific had also not paid its community benefit fund of $40 million in 2018 and 2019. The CCC made a list of five complaints against Imperial Pacific and brought it up in a meeting between CCC board members and Imperial Pacific legal counsel.
Tiberius Mocanu who is the legal counsel for Imperial Pacific and Tao Xing, senior VP for marketing and public affairs attended the meeting. The Imperial Pacific team said that they were aware of the shortcomings and were not going to counter any of the five complaints. They also acknowledged that if the CCC decided to suspend the Saipan Casino license, they would accept the decision.
Imperial Pacific Asks For Leniency
While Mocanu and Xing accepted all of the complaints, they did ask for the CCC to be lenient with the casino operator and give them more time to get their act together and their finances in order. They want the CCC to not impose heavy fines as it would make it even harder for Imperial Pacific to bounce back and continue to the casino project.
The CCC board has placed the matter under advisement after listening to the arguments.