IPI execs face arrest after 71-count indictment

Casino construction (file)

Two executives from Imperial Pacific International and one from its contractors, MCC International, face arrest if they return to US soil, after being indicted on 71 counts, including, racketeering, international promotion of money laundering, harboring, and employing illegal aliens.

Liwen Wu, known as Peter Wu and Jianmin Xu were senior executives for IPI, while Yan Shi was a project supervisor with MCC.

The charges against the trio were laid in federal court on August 1st and unsealed on Tuesday. 

The court document details how IPI pressured its contractor to speed up work on its Imperial Pacific resort on Saipan in order to avoid late penalties. Due to US restrictions on imported labor, the three conspired to illegally import laborers from China. They are also accused of importing US$24 million into the United States to promote their illegal activity. 

If found guilty, the trio could be looking at lengthy jail sentences, with the count of RICO, or racketeering, promoting money laundering and harboring illegal aliens all carrying a 20 year sentence, plus hefty fines.

A press release from the US District Attorney’s Office for the Districts of Guam and NMI said all three are currently outside of US jurisdiction, but they will be arrested and brought to trial in a federal court if they enter US soil, which includes the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands as a US protectorate.

The documents detail how the three conspired to create “increasingly elaborate schemes of deception,” in order to import cheap labor from China, including creating backstories and providing “girlfriends, or spouses,” who went along in return for a free holiday on Saipan.

The scheme operated up until March 2017, with more than 600 illegal aliens imported to work on the project. Many of them were unskilled workers.

The company also took steps to conceal the workers from safety inspectors, which coupled with their lack of expertise, created a “worksite environment with a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.”

IPI has been hit by a series of regulatory controversies and cash flow problems, especially in recent months, and has admitted in court proceedings that the future of its casino license in CNMI is very much in doubt. It recently appointed a new CEO and is attempting to find new investors for the project, which most analysts at the time it was announced said was overambitious for the size of the island and its tourism flows.