US govt, Tinian Dynasty agree to postpone trial


The U.S. government and the owner of Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino have agreed to postpone the trial date and other pretrial matters in connection with the criminal case filed against the company.

Assistant U.S. attorney Ross Naughton, counsel for the U.S. government, and attorney Bruce Berline, counsel for Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments Ltd., submitted their agreement on Thursday, the deadline given by U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona to Hong Kong Entertainment to decide whether or not to move the trial date.

The trial date is presently set for April 7, 2015.

Naughton and Berline asked the court to put off the trial to June 8, 2015, or later.

Naughton and Berline also suggested a schedule on the hearing for the pretrial motions.

At a status conference on Tuesday, Manglona ordered Berline to meet and confer with his client and submit in court Hong Kong Entertainment’s decision whether to move the trial or not.

Manglona said the April 7, 2015, trial date would remain on the calendar unless an order removes it.

Assistant U.S. attorney Marivic David stated that it was still the status quo because the U.S. Department of Justice’s Main Justice in Washington, D.C., has yet to decide on the settlement deal that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Hong Kong Entertainment have agreed to in principle.

The parties agreed to dismiss the case against Hong Kong Entertainment in exchange for the company’s forfeiture to the U.S. government of $3.02 million, plus other terms and conditions.

David said the U.S. government did request for a longer continuance of the trial date, taking into account the multiple pending motions in the case.

The trial was supposed to start last Feb. 9, but the judge reset it to April 7 at the parties’ request.

Naughton told the court last Jan. 30 that although they have agreed in principle to the settlement, they are awaiting DOJ’s final approval of the civil forfeiture amount.

The U.S. government filed in November last year 158 criminal charges against Hong Kong Entertainment: one count of conspiracy to cause a financial institution to fail to file a currency transaction report or 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.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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