A U.S. federal court says it is not obliged to help the Laos government in serving subpoenas on investment firm Bridge Capital LLC and its co-owner John K. Baldwin and others, reports the Saipan Tribune newspaper.
Laos is reported to have made the request in relation to criminal investigations in that country into tax matters, and to some international proceedings pending in Singapore.
The newspaper said – citing court records – that a petition to the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands made by the Lao People’s Democratic Republic related to entities called Sanum Investments Ltd and Lao Holdings, NV.
Savan Vegas, a casino and resort in Laos, was previously controlled by those entities before the Laos government seized the resort operation and appointed an interim management.
Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy ruled in a 19-page decision on Thursday that Laos is a sovereign nation, capable of prosecuting its laws and interpreting its agreements as it sees fit, but that “this court is not required to help,” reported the Saipan Tribune.
In June 2015 the Marianas Variety newspaper – quoting district court records held in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands – said the police in Laos were conducting a criminal investigation involving the boss of the parent company of Sanum Investments and Lao Holdings relating to the prior operations of the Savan Vegas casino. The person was named as John K. Baldwin, principal and chief executive of Bridge Capital LLC.
On March 25 San Marco Capital Partners LLC, the U.S.-based private investment firm asked by the Laos government to handle the sale of the Savan Vegas complex, announced a shortlist of interested parties, marking the end of the qualification process.
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Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu and Tianjiao Yu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein