Saipan casino Imperial Pacific stalling US financial watchdog probe

Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI) is fooling itself if it thinks it can ignore the US government’s financial watchdog the same way the company ignores demands for payment by its former contractors.

That was the message conveyed to IPI on Thursday by Edward Deleon Guerrero, who was recently appointed the new chairman of the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC). Guerrero made the comments in response to a little-seen section of IPI’s 2019 annual report.

In that report, IPI noted that on March 4, it had received a letter from the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) saying the watchdog had detected “apparent violations of the BSA [Bank Secrecy Act] and its implementing regulations and it is considering whether to impose civil money penalty or take additional enforcement action against” the casino operator.

IPI stated that FinCEN conducted a BSA compliance probe in 2017 and the March 4 letter requested further information and documents dating from October 2016 – IPI had denied it was under FinCEN surveillance in November 2016 – to the present day. IPI’s annual report, which was released on April 27, said the company was “still in the process of preparing for the required information and documents.”