Junket operator sues IPI for return of deposited funds

BigBang filed the lawsuit against IPI in Superior Court on March 31.
BigBang filed the lawsuit against IPI in Superior Court on March 31.

BigBang Entertainment has sued IPI over an alleged breach of contract in remitting deposited funds.

Northern Mariana Islands.- A junket operator named BigBang Entertainment has filed a lawsuit against Imperial Pacific International (IPI), seeking the return of US$351,652.65. It says the funds were deposited as part of their business agreement. 

The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court on March 31, citing breach of contract, non-gratuitous bailment, conversion by demand and refusal, intentional breach of fiduciary duty, negligent breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment.

According to a junket agreement signed on September 26, 2016, BigBang was required to make a “front money” deposit of US$500,000 to IPI. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands temporarily closed all casino gaming. IPI ceased operations, causing BigBang to suffer revenue losses and making it unable to continue its business as a junket operator.

BigBang sought permission from the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) to seek a refund of the deposited funds on August 28, 2020. On September 2, 2020, the commission granted BigBang’s request.

BigBang sent a letter requesting a refund of the deposited amount on April 30, 2021, and a demand letter on December 22, 2022. IPI failed to respond or return the deposited amount.

According to Mariana’s Variety, Matthew Holley, IPI’s attorney, removed the lawsuit from the local court and filed it in the District Court for the NMI on May 1, stating that his client did not admit any of the allegations in BigBang’s complaint and did not waive any defences available.

In April, it was revealed IPI is facing a lease default after Teresita A. Santos, secretary at the Department of Public Lands (DPL), issued a notice of violation. The company failed to remit a required security deposit of US$250,000, among other alleged violations of the land lease agreement.

Despite the remittance of US$150,000 in lease rental to DPL, the company has failed to remedy violations as provided in DPL’s October 18 notice of default. According to the Saipan Tribune, IPI has been warned that if the listed violations were not fixed within 30 days, it would be placed in automatic default, and the DPL would be forced to take corrective action. 

See also: CNMI Court approves sales in fourth auction of IPI gaming equipment

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Imperial Pacific International