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Legal & Regulatory

CNMI Government preparing to step in if IPI cannot pay its penalties

Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has warned Imperial Pacific International that if the company doesn’t pay its arrears, the Government will take “the next step”.

saipan

“I hope that IPI can take care of their pending issues,” said Governor Ralph Torres. “I hope they can pay their arrears in order for them to move forward, or us for that matter.”

The Governor hopes the operator will be able to settle its debts and move forward but added: “As of now I hope they can take care of their arrears and continue to do business here. But if not, then we have to take the next step and we move on.”

IPI has several payments due, many of them long-standing. Last year, the Commonwealth Casino Commission board ordered the indefinite suspension of the company’s gaming licence, with a requirement for IPI to pay $6.6m in penalty fees.

The firm also owes $15.5m in annual casino exclusive licence fees, while IPI additionally failed to pay $3.1m in annual casino regulatory fees too.

The licence suspension will last until the company meets the required payments.

However, the District Court for the NMI recently ruled in favour of seven construction workers who sued IPI over forced labor allegations, ordering the operator to pay $5.9m in damages.

The workers reportedly went to Saipan, where IPI was building its resort until the temporary closure, with a promise of higher wages, but were allegedly forced to enter the country as tourists and not workers.

IPI maintains that the company’s legal team will review the ruling and “will take the right course of action based on legal advice.”

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