A unit of Hong Kong-listed casino investor Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd is suing 13 clients for an aggregate of US$12.75 million it claims they collectively owe it.
The suits have been brought in the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. jurisdiction, by Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, reports the Saipan Tribune newspaper.
The Imperial Pacific group is developing the Imperial Pacific Resort, a gaming and hotel complex on Saipan, the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands. The firm has been seeking an extension on an August 31 deadline to have fully completed what is termed by the local regulator the “initial gaming facility”.
The Saipan Tribune stated – citing papers filed last week – that the 13 customers being sued were provided with loans ranging from US$100,000 to US$6.2 million.
The largest-single alleged debtor was named as “Wenlong Cui”, described as a resident of Hong Kong, who allegedly received two loans to a total value of US$6.2 million and failed to pay nearly US$3.1 million. The other 12 alleged debtors were described as residents of mainland China.
In its 2017 annual results filed in late March, Imperial Pacific said its trade receivables account for the period had swelled by 59.9 percent.
Such receivables – mostly related to money owed on losses by gambling customers using credit to play – were HKD8.53 billion (US$1.09 billion), compared to HKD5.33 billion in 2016. Impairment losses on trade receivables for the 12 months to December 31 amounted on a net basis to just under HKD4.19 billion, compared to net impairment losses of HKD847.1 million in the prior-year period.
In May, Lu Hou Tsai, senior vice president of operations for Imperial Pacific, told GGRAsia the group was fully committed to completing its Saipan resort scheme.
In its annual report filed on April 27, the group said “approximately US$650 million” had been invested in the “design, consulting, engineering, construction materials and labour costs” for the Saipan resort.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China