A recent decision by U.S. Department of the Treasury to impose a civil penalty of $75 million against the owner of Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino for “willful and egregious violations” of the Bank Secrecy Act should serve as a warning to casino regulators on Saipan.
Rep. Ramon A. Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan) said he hopes the case “sends a strong message” to casino regulators and to potential investors that there is a watchdog looking over the casino industry in the CNMI.
“I’d rather that the case sends a strong message to the Commonwealth Casino Commission than to Best Sunshine [International, Ltd.],” Tebuteb said.
There are still lingering questions over the responsibilities of the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission regarding the case, and as of yesterday, the commission has yet to comment on the Tinian Dynasty case.
Although it is a separate commission, Tebuteb said the lesson there is that regulators should be wary and that the Tinian Dynasty case serves as a “warning.”
The lawmaker said some of the Saipan commissioners have been “mingling” with top executives of BSI and, although this has nothing to do with bank secrecy laws, it is still highly questionable.
Last week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network assessed the civil penalty of $75 million against Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments, the owner of Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino.
FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery determined that HKE failed to develop and implement an anti-money laundering program to ensure ongoing compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act.
Hong Kong Entertainment is facing criminal charges on the same issue.