Hong Kong based Imperial Pacific is the parent company for Best Sunshine International, the company that operates the Best Sunshine Live Casino on the Saipan Island. The Saipan Island is a part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and is subjected to United States law. The company got permission to run a temporary casino in 2015 on the basis of training casino employees and getting them ready for the opening of its permanent casino resort which was scheduled to open on March 31, 2017.
However there are rumors that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) along with local authorities have visited the Best Sunshine Live casino late last week and arrested one of the employees. There was a lot of speculation initially as to what the FBI was after as there have been rumors of money-laundering taking place at the casino. As of now, it is not clear if the grand opening ceremony for the Saipan casino went off successfully.
In December 2016, a VP of table games who was sacked filed a lawsuit against the casino for wrongful termination and also went on record to say that money-laundering was taking place at the casino with the co-operation of casino staff who were coaching VIP players on methods of how to go about their high-stakes gambling activities without having to report everything in detail to the casino. There were also allegations that the Best Sunshine Live casino was not complying with the anti-money laundering regulations that were laid out by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
Casinos have always been a target for criminals and money-launderers and there were suspicions about the performance of the Best Sunshine Live temporary casino as the numbers it reported were outstanding. The temporary casino generated more $32 billion in 2016, which is a significantly higher amount than what some of the top casinos in Macau end up generating. The casino reported that its VIP gross gaming revenue in January 2017 was in excess of $2.2 billion and it was precisely these numbers that caused some to speculate over the recent allegations of money-laundering.
However Best Sunshine Live casino management denied all allegations and stated that the casino was being tarnished by competitors due to its strong performance. Casino officials confirmed that the casino was in full compliance with money laundering laws and stated that its strong performance was due to its VIP market segment and the fact that the casino did not pay exorbitant taxes like Macau’s casinos.
The FBI raid over the weekend led some to believe that federal authorities are finally investigating the money laundering claims. However unconfirmed reports suggest that the FBI was not targeting money-laundering activities but rather conducting an investigation into the death of a Chinese employee who passed away on March 23 after falling off scaffolding during construction work.
An FBI Honolulu field office representative confirmed the same by stating that the FBI was looking into federal violations of the working visa’s and also into allegations that Best Sunshine was deliberately allowing its workers to flaunt visa laws in order to allow them to continue work on the construction project. Saipan government officials had also raised concerns over the safety measures being followed during construction and the CNMI Department of Labor have also launched an investigation of its own into the death of the 43 year old Chinese worker.
The federal government had earlier imposed a cap on foreign workers in Saipan which did not go down well with Imperial Pacific who wanted the government to allow a higher cap on foreign workers due to the fact that the locals did not have the skill-set required to fulfill the demands of the job.
Imperial Pacific made a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange on March 31 and stated that neither the company nor its staff received any official FBI investigation notice nor did any governmental agencies get in touch to file any such notice. The FBI Honolulu representative stated that the Bureau often partnered with government agencies when there were reports of human trafficking and exploitation within the labor sector.
Imperial Pacific has strong ties with a number of influential political leaders in Washington and there are reports that the company is looking to use its political clout to get the visa restrictions on foreign workers lifted.

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