Imperial Pacific execs charged over illegal workers

Imperial Pacific execs charged over illegal workers

The operator allegedly hired Chinese workers illegally for construction of the Grand Mariana Casino Hotel on Saipan.

Northern Mariana Islands.- Officials from Imperial Pacific International (IPI) and MCC International Saipan have been charged at the US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.

Liwen Wu, Yan Shi and Jianmin Xu face several criminal charges for breaching labour laws.

They are accused of illegally hiring Chinese workers instead of US citizens or other foreign nationals for the construction of the Grand Mariana Casino Hotel on Saipan island.

Federal prosecutors also allege the three executives transferred more than US$24 million to the US to promote their activity.

The company appears to argue the hiring of Chinese workers who resided in Saipan illegally was to speed along construction, given that delay would land IPI with a fine under to the company’s agreement with the CNMI government that granted it exclusive rights for a hotel and casino in Garapan.

But prosecutors say the scheme was aimed at circumventing federal labour and immigration laws and reducing expenses. The firm, mired in legal battles, allegedly provided the workers with back stories and fake spouses who posed in exchange for a free vacation in the Northern Marina Islands in order to trick the authorities.

The indictment, which dates from a year ago but was revealed to the public only now, says the scheme lasted from 2015 to 2017, when about 600 illegal workers were brought to the worksite and paid lower than mandatory wages.

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