An attorney with the Torres Brothers law firm pointed out that a magazine’s story suggesting corruption in Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ administration related to the CNMI’s emerging casino industry left out several key facts.
According to Matt Holley, an attorney at the Torres Brother law firm, the article, “A Chinese Casino Has Conquered a Piece of America,” published by Bloomberg Businessweek last week, left out several key points about their client, Changwei Xu, who had a $7-million Nevada arrest warrant for an outstanding debt at a Nevada casino.
The Bloomberg piece stated that a man named Changwei Xu was detained at the Saipan airport in October “because of a Nevada arrest warrant, with bail there set at $7 million. But Imperial Pacific didn’t want him locked up. The Torres Brothers law firm quickly informed the CNMI Department of Corrections that Xu was its client and, remarkably, requested that he be released on medical grounds to house arrest, under Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s supervision. The government agreed.”
Holley, who was a prosecutor in New York City, said that Attorney General Edward Manibusan made the decision last October 2017 to have Xu released and placed under house arrest.
“As a former prosecutor myself from New York City, I know that the [attorney general] should be concerned about having someone in jail that shouldn’t be, especially one with a heart condition,” he said.
Holley added that the basis for the detention was extinguished when the debt was satisfied that same day.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, Xu’s debt was settled by an unnamed agent from Best Sunshine, the company that ran Imperial Pacific’s temporary live casino inside the T Galleria.
Holley also noted that the Bloomberg story failed to recognize that the Nevada casino from whom Xu owed money had verified that the matter had been resolved. He added that the Clark County District Attorney declined to extradite Xu.
Holley represented Xu under the Torres Brothers law firm. He questioned why the article’s author failed to seek comments from him, since he represented Xu, and from Manibusan since he is the AG.
“None was provided in the article,” Holley said.
Holley further questioned whether the author verified with the Clark Country District Attorney or with the Nevada casino on the resolved debt prior to his client’s release.
In a statement by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in response to the Bloomberg reporter’s inquiries, Torres noted that it was Manibusan who opted to release Xu.
“Mr. Xu was detained at the CNMI Department of Corrections. The law firm, through Matt Holley, represented Mr. Xu. Because of a medical condition (diabetes and high blood pressure), Holley and our elected Attorney General Edward Manibusan agreed to have DOC release Mr. Xu and to allow IPI to provide him accommodations until Holley could work out why he was arrested.
“To be clear, the governor was not involved in this decision and he happened to be off-island at that time,” the statement adds, adding that it was later found out that Xu had a debt in Las Vegas and that throughout the process, there was full coordination among U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the CNMI Department of Public Safety, and CNMI DOC.