Saipan Casino Officials Threaten Bloomberg With Lawsuit
February was a down month in revenue for Japan-based casino operator Imperial Pacific International Holdings (IPI), the company behind the Best Sunshine Live temporary casino in Saipan. The company attributes the downturn to Bloomberg reports of alleged financial wrongdoing, among other claims. As a result, the operator has threatened legal action against the news source.
March turned out much better for IPI with a $1.32 billion increase over February’s $1.67 Billion in revenues. This is still substantially lower than the record $5.6 billion IPI reported for the month of January.
VIPs came back strong according to the operator after the allegations over skirting the US workplace visa system and suspicious financial revenues that circled the property were calmed.
The operator insists its 140,000 square meter property, which features 38 VIP and 34 open casino game tables, is fully legitimate for its current state in the construction process. The Resort is currently undergoing phase two of its erection and is expected to complete such efforts within the next three months.
Last week a federal raid was conducted following the death of a Chinese national who worked on the Sunshine property. According to the FBI, the operation was carried out in response to allegations of, “a federal violation of the workplace visa system, including reports the company was systematically harboring individuals who are out of status and in violation of federal statutes.”
Ralph Torres, Governor of Saipan, released a statement on Sunday saying the national in question was an employee of the project’s contractor MCC Inc. The raid was believed to have gained traction from authorities following the Bloomberg report on US financial officials who had turned their attention towards Best Sunshine last year. IPI issued a statement in regard to Bloomberg’s report, affirming the company had not received, “any investigation notice from any of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation or government departments.” The statement continued with a pivot to “take formal legal actions against Bloomberg for its repeated unfounded report [sic] over the past year based on third party sources.”
Bloomberg Fires Back
Bloomberg came off the ropes swinging over the threats of legal action and continued to pursue its efforts against IPI. The news source filed a report linking the company to Esteem Capital Success Ltd. Esteem had been the subject of criticism for its financing of trips to Hong Kong and Macau for Saipan gaming officials with the intended mission of fact-finding prior to opening its own casino industry. The practice is not innocuous on its own, but Bloomberg contended that IPI had continued dealing under the table when it found a Hong Kong legal suit between a VIP gambler with a debt of $27 million to a company that share the same address as Esteem Capital success. Later the same year the address was taken over by IPI corporate HQ. IPI denied any link between the two.
When the gambler in question took the stand they insisted that Esteem reps, which included Ji Xiaobo and Cai Lingli, did in fact, share a connection as Xiaobo’s mother was revealed to own a majority stake in IPI and Lingli is IPI’s executive director.
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