Cui Li Jie, chairwoman of Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI) could be jailed for contempt of court. She failed to comply with a subpoena and allegedly committed perjury under oath during testimony about IPI, which runs the only casino resort on Saipan, part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
According to Asia Gaming Brief, an attorney for construction workers suing IPI over labor and human trafficking allegations told the court that Cui provided “demonstrably false testimony,” saying she had never been to the casino site before 2021 and was not served with the subpoena.
“Ms. Cui’s appearance at the February 5 deposition, which amounted to no more than a litany of evasive and untruthful answers under oath by a witness determined to be uncooperative, further [justifies] a finding of contempt,” said attorney Aaron Halegua, adding that parts of Cui’s deposition testimony were “not true or, at best, grossly misleading.”
She apparently said she has never met IPI attorney Mike Dotts before but had only heard of him; that she has no role at IPI; and that she had not met with anyone from IPI while in the CNMI.
District Court Chief Judge Ramona Manglona issued a “show cause” order against the IPI chairwoman, requiring her to explain in writing why she should not be put in jail for the breaches.
Manglona has ordered IPI to pay the current employees’ back wages, with a balance of almost $1.19 million, and also to create an escrow account to cover future employee payroll in the amount of $800,000. The judge said IPI will be placed in receivership and its assets liquidated if these conditions are not met. A status hearing will take place on March 31. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor has nominated Joyce Tang, Northern Mariana Islands Settlement Fund trustee to serve as receiver for the liquidation of some assets of IPI. The commonwealth in the western Pacific is a U.S. territory.