FBI seized docs, computers at IPI office

Posted on Nov 18 2019


The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized heaps of documents from Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s accounting office, along with several computers, during the execution of a search warrant last Nov. 8, 2019.

The FBI, according to documents obtained by Saipan Tribune last week, were in possession of financial documents, accounting records, and even vendor payments dating as far back as 2014, when IPI was still called Best Sunshine.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice FBI receipt for property, which was nine pages long, the agency also seized Commonwealth tax payments, IPI journal entries, petty cash records, vendor payment checks, and many more.

The listing even included lease payments and agreements and “letters to Torres Brothers and other law firms”; “Alfred Yue payment document”; “Torres Brothers and Marianas Consultancy payments”; and even lease rental agreements and lease payments.

A total of 18 phones were also reportedly returned to IPI employees during the raid, according to the report.

In addition to the documents, the FBI also seized a total of 34 computer hard disk drives, 15 laptops, nine all-in-one CPUs, and several mini CPUs.

The FBI executed several search warrants on Saipan 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.

The FBI, along with the CNMI Office of the Public Auditor, also visited the Commonwealth Casino Commission but CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero did not disclose the reason for their visit.

Torres’ chief of staff, Angel Demapan, said in a previous statement that all the information the FBI provided to the administration is that it was an investigation on “allegations.”

“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 separate statement.

“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.

An IPI statement released late last Thursday said: “Our companies have nothing to hide and will cooperate with law enforcement authorities.”

“[The governor], Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, and the administration remain focused on continuing the operations of the government and ensuring that the delivery of public services remains unhindered. We continue to seek the community’s patience to respect the integrity of the process and the systems of justice,” Demapan noted in a statement Nov. 14, 2019.

Last Thursday, Saipan Tribune obtained a copy of the U.S. District Court’s subpoena commanding the IPI records custodian to testify before a grand jury. The District Court published the order on Nov. 6, 2019.

A grand jury is a panel of 16 to 23 people that are randomly selected and ultimately decides whether there is a case to be pursued through an indictment, or a formal charge of a crime. Grand jury proceedings are not open to the public.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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