Three people involved with the controversial casino project of Imperial Pacific International Holdings in Saipan were officially accused by US federal prosecutors for making illegal money transfers, employing workers without the necessary documents, and taking part in criminal activity.
Under the allegations unveiled by the prosecutors, the three individuals took part in a conspiracy to illegally hire many Chinese workers at the casino, after instructing them to lie to immigration officers that they had arrived in the country as tourists. The three defendants – Yan Shi, Jianmin Xu and Liwen Wu – were employed by either Imperial Pacific or the Chinese construction company engaged with the development of the Saipan-based gaming resort.
The allegations unveiled by the prosecutors include a conspiracy charge under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The legal charges faced by the three defendants have come as the latest legal challenge associated with the controversial business of Imperial Pacific in Saipan, which was considered one of the fastest-growing casino businesses on a global scale. No accusations of wrongdoing are faced by Imperial Pacific, Metallurgical Corp of China Ltd, or the operator’s subsidiary unit in Saipan in the latest legal filing.
The Saipan casino resort project of Imperial Pacific has attracted massive attention in the sector at the time when it started operation, as it was expected to become a massive tourist and gambling hub, especially considering the fact it is situated in a region where there is almost no modern tourist infrastructure.
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As mentioned above, the three defendants are Chinese nationals, who, according to a statement of the Department of Justice, currently reside outside the US. According to Imperial Pacific, at least one of the three above-named persons no longer works for the company.
For now, a legal representative of the gambling operator said he was unable to comment on the company’s behalf. The casino operator revealed that one of the people facing criminal charges was a non-managerial employee of Imperial Pacific, who left the company in 2017. According to a separate court filing to stay a civil case, the company’s lawyers explained that Jianmin Xu and Liwen Wu were executives at Imperial Pacific.
Several months ago, in November 2019, federal agents searched the local offices of Imperial Pacific, along with the hope of Saipan’s Governor Ralph Torres, who is also known as a long-time supporter of the company’s casino. At the time when the search actions were carried out, Mr. Torres denied any wrongdoing.
In 2019, Imperial Pacific agreed to pay a total of $3 million to resolve reports that it did not pay its construction workers the minimum wage and overtime labor. Back in 2017, MCC employees and some other Chinese nationals associated with the casino resort project faced US federal prosecutors’ charges of violations associated with unauthorized workers’ employment in the construction process. At the time, some of the individuals pleaded guilty.