Imperial Pacific International (IPI) has announced it will appeal a decision by the US District Court this week denying a petition by IPI and two subsidiaries for a preliminary injunction to prevent the release of its audited statement.
The case dates back to a request filed in Saipan parliament in June for IPI’s 2017 and 2018 audit reports and information on all Business Gross Revenue Tax (BGRT) Payments and other tax payments made by IPI during that period. It had previously been reported that IPI had paid just US$41,000 in BGRT since 1 July 2018 and was looking to use tax credits earned in recent years in lieu of paying more taxes in 2019 in order to conserve funds for the completion of its Saipan IR, Imperial Palace‧Saipan.
When the Commonwealth Casino Commission stated in late June that it planned to release IPI’s financial information despite the company’s objections, IPI filed a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the information being released.
The issue will now be determined by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after the US District Court ruled this week that IPI and subsidiaries Grand Marianas (CNMI) LLC and Imperial Pacific Properties LLC had not met their burden for a preliminary injunction.
“They have not shown that irreparable harm is likely without an injunction, that the balance of equities tips in their favor, or that an injunction is in the public interest,” the judge said, according to Marianas Variety.
She also noted that the case required her to balance the public’s interest in an open and transparent government versus the interests of an individual or company in preventing the disclosure of their private information but ultimately concluded that the CNMI Constitution only protects the privacy rights of individuals and “should not be read to endow corporations with constitutionally protected rights.”