Former CNMI Bar Association president Sean E. Frink will also now serve as counsel for the owner of Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino in its criminal case.
Frink, of Marianas Legal Strategy Group LLC, filed yesterday in federal court a notice of his appearance as counsel for Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment Ltd.
Frink requested the U.S. District Court for the NMI that all notice of hearings, motions, and any other pleadings filed in this case continue to be served upon HKE through the law office of Bruce Berline.
Berline is the original counsel for HKE. HKE also hired Patrick J. Smith, a former federal prosecutor in the CNMI, to assist Berline in the case.
The jury trial supposed to commence on Tuesday, but it was taken off calendar.
Berline refused to comment why the trial did not push through.
A check with court records, however, indicated that some documents were filed under seal recently in this case.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, commonly known as FinCEN, also recently assessed a civil penalty in the amount of $75 million against HKE for “willful and egregious violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery determined, among other things, that Tinian Dynasty failed to file thousands of currency transaction reports (CTRs) and failed to develop and implement an anti-money laundering program to ensure ongoing compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act.
The U.S. government filed in November last year 158 criminal charges against HKE.
The charges are one count of conspiracy to cause a financial institution to fail to file a CTR, 155 counts of failure to file a CTR, one count of failure to file a suspicious activity report, and one count of failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. The indictment has also a notice of forfeiture.