Tinian casino pays price of US money-laundering crackdown

Tinian casino pays price of US money-laundering crackdown

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 Totally Gaming
The Northern Mariana Islands are proving of interest to Macau junkets

A casino operator based in the US commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands has agreed to pay out a $3.04m (€2.71m) forfeiture as part of a non-prosecution settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for violating anti-money-laundering rules.

The Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino - which markets itself as a 'playground in paradise' - agreed the deal a month after it was fined $75m by the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for “wilful and egregious” violations of anti-money-laundering rules uncovered by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigators.

A Wall Street Journal report said that a special agent from the IRS found that, from 2009 to 2013, the Tinian casino had failed to file more than 3,600 mandatory reports for currency transactions over $10,000, the total value of which was around $138m, according to court documents.

It is believed that US authorities are concerned that Macau junket operators have become increasingly interested in the Northern Mariana Islands – north of Guam - and that has fuelled the US crackdown in the commonwealth region.

“This case represents the intersection of Macau gaming practices and US regulation,” Fred Gushin, managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group, which has been hired by Tinian Dynasty to bring it into compliance with US laws, told the Wall Street Journal.

Tinian Dynasty is owned by a Northern Mariana Islands-based company called Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments Ltd. In a trading update posted earlier this month, Hong Kong-listed Chinese Strategic Holdings Ltd. said that it planned to take over the casino after the US criminal case was resolved.

Teri Alexander, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation office in Seattle, said: “Casino reporting requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act are an important means of preventing abuse of our financial system by those seeking to conceal ill-gotten gains or evade their tax obligations.

“The requirement of this agreement that the Tinian Dynasty Casino fully cooperate with IRS Criminal Investigation is an important step in ensuring that those who may be trying to evade reporting requirements are detected.”

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