No search warrants executed on CCC
Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Public Auditor paid a visit to the Commonwealth Casino Commission yesterday afternoon, the first since last Thursday’s flurry of search warrants executed on Saipan.
CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero later said he could not disclose what was discussed during their closed-door meeting.
“…We had been approached by members of the OPA and the FBI, and we had a little meeting. I cannot disclose what was discussed,” he told Saipan Tribune yesterday.
Saipan Tribune chanced upon two men alongside Deleon Guerrero and two other CCC employees entering the executive director’s room yesterday at around 2pm. When asked, Deleon Guerrero noted that there were no search warrants issued on the CCC.
Saipan Tribune tried to confirm with the OPA yesterday if they were involved with investigations being done by the FBI but the office declined to say anything in an email response.
“Our office cannot comment on the existence or status of any ongoing investigation,” an OPA representative noted in the email.
However, Deleon Guerrero noted that both the CCC and the OPA frequently meet and that their meeting yesterday is an “ongoing dialogue.”
“…This is an ongoing dialogue between OPA, but this is the first time we’ve had OPA and the FBI together [since the FBI executed search warrants last Thursday],” he said.
“[The meeting] in my opinion [has] nothing to do with CCC, but we discussed a wide area of discussions,” he noted.
“We are the policemen of the [casino] industry, so it is appropriate for one policeman of one industry to consult with another policeman in another industry,” he added.
He declined to affirm if the meeting was consultative in nature. “I cannot really divulge that,” he said. “But, yes, we have been visited and, yes, we have had meetings.”
Deleon Guerrero noted that his office has worked with the FBI on “other issues” in the past he did not disclose those issues.
He noted that, during the infancy of the commission, he and other commission members visited the FBI office in Guam to introduce themselves as the CCC. They had also visited the U.S. Attorney’s Office to introduce themselves.
Deleon Guerrero noted that his office often works with the FBI to conduct suitability reviews on prospective casino vendors before issuing licenses that allow them to do business with the lone casino operator on Saipan.
Echoing the surprise of many, the Department of Public Safety also expressed no prior knowledge of the FBI’s search.
DPS spokesperson Adrian Pangelinan said they were unaware of the FBI’s probe on Saipan last Thursday and they are not coordinating with the FBI, as the investigation is solely under the FBI’s jurisdiction.
“DPS is not involved in this case. …DPS was unaware and received no word of the FBI’s arrival and investigation in the governor’s office,” Pangelinan told Saipan Tribune.
Pangelinan also confirmed that none of the DPS offices were investigated or searched by FBI agents last week.
The FBI typically releases no information on ongoing investigation.
The FBI agents executed several search warrants last Thursday that included the Governor’s Office, the office of Alfred Yue of Marianas Consultancy Services LLC, a consultant for Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC; Legend Realty Saipan; the Torres Brothers’ law office, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ home, and vehicle.
Torres’ chief of staff and acting press secretary Angel Demapan told Saipan Tribune that the Torres administration was notified of an investigation on “allegations” and that no other information was provided.
“In an effort to preserve the integrity of the process, the administration continues to seek the community’s patience and support to allow the system of justice to take its course,” he said in a statement Monday.
“We have provided them with all the information and access that they have asked for, with the intent of being completely transparent and helpful in the investigation,” Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios noted in a press conference Thursday afternoon.
An IPI statement released late Thursday said: “Our companies have nothing to hide and will cooperate with law enforcement authorities.” (With Marc A. Venus)