CNMI Casino Commission: Best Sunshine Complying With All Federal Laws

Director responds to Bloomberg News report about unusually high revenues at Saipan casino

By Jon Perez 

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Nov. 21, 2016) – Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero said that Best Sunshine International, Ltd., which operates the Best Sunshine LIVE casino at the T Galleria, complies with federal laws under Title 31 or the Banking Secrecy Act, which assists U.S. government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering activities.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN is one of those agencies under the U.S. Department of the Treasury that gathers information and investigates activities related to local and international money laundering, and other financial crimes.

Deleon Guerrero was reacting to a Bloomberg report last week that alleged that Treasury is looking into the operations of Imperial Pacific International, noting that gambling tables at BSI’s temporary facility in Garapan is almost empty.

Bloomberg questioned BSI’s claim about its cash flow per table.

“I can’t confirm nor deny that [IPI-BSI] is under FinCEN investigation. [FinCEN] does not usually inform those whom they are investigating and we’re not aware of a special investigation,” Deleon Guerrero told Saipan Tribune.

He said it wouldn’t be any surprise if FinCEN is indeed conducting an investigation, adding that this could be just routine inquiry to make sure there are no illegal activities slipping under their radar. “It is not as if they’ve done something wrong, [BSI] is submitting their reports to [FinCEN].”

“It is an irrelevant issue if FinCEN is doing an investigation but you don’t need to be alarmed if you are complying,” said Deleon Guerrero, who added that it is normal to be investigated in this kind of industry.

He said violating anti-money laundering laws enforced by federal law enforcement agencies like FinCEN is the quickest way for a casino to fold. “For the casino to die the quickest way is to violate the AML laws. FinCEN enforces the laws.”

“For Bloomberg to say something like they are under investigation is maybe a business way of addressing a competitor. FinCEN issues federal regulations under Title 31. And BSI also has its own regulatory oversight.”

Deleon Guerrero said he thinks this is purely business. “If Best Sunshine Live inside a temporary casino inside a mall can outpace and outperform big name casinos is purely business. It is bad for competitors and it appears its business rivalry, since Saipan is a competitor. I can tell you the numbers are real. We are watching, documenting, and tracking it.”

“For Bloomberg to allude that they are being investigated by the U.S. Treasury, I don’t know since FinCEN is a federal agency. But [BSI] does have an AML program and they submit cash transfer reports and report suspicious activities in compliance with Title 31. They report on the things happening inside the VIP rooms.”

Saipan Tribune
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