Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI) has been summonsed to testify before a grand jury in January and ordered to supply all communications between any of its owners, executive or employees and Governor Ralph Torres.
The summons, received by an IPI records custodian, follows a series of raids by FBI officers last week on the home and office of Governor Torres and various offices associated with IPI, with authorities reported to have been looking for evidence of fraud by wire, radio, or television, of attempt and conspiracy, money laundering and making contributions or donations by foreign nationals.
According to The Saipan Tribune, the grand jury aims to specifically look at any potential cash transactions or donations to political campaigns run by Governor Torres on or after 1 September 2013, as well as any records related to land lease or purchase agreements involving IPI and the Torres family, including cash deposits or transactions made by IPI.
The subpoena calls for the custodian to supply, “Any and all emails, text messages, letters, notices, or other forms of written communications between Imperial Pacific International … and CNMI Governor Torres.”
The office of Governor Torres issued a defence on Thursday, stating that he “has cooperated with the ongoing investigation.
“He has always upheld the trust and responsibility of this office and believes that in due time, this investigation will find him clear of any further concern. The process toward clearing his name on this issue will take time, but it is a process that must be respected.
“This is an important process and it is vital that the facts are provided and that the public’s concerns be assuaged in due time.
“Governor Torres will continue to serve the people of the CNMI as he has always done, with integrity and in pursuit of progress for our people. He asks for your continued understanding and patience as this process proceeds toward the eventual clearing of his name.”