NMI Court denies issuance of subpoenas relating to Savan Vegas

Saipan’s federal court has denied the petition from the Laos Government for issuance of subpoenas on Bridge Capital LLC and its owner in connection with the criminal tax investigations in Laos, local media reports.

According to the Saipan Tribune, U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy ruled that the Government of Laos should prosecute its laws and interpret its agreements as it sees fit and said the court was not required to help.

The petition from the Laos Government relates to the ongoing breakup of its partnership with Sanum Investments and Lao Holdings N.V who previously owned Savan Vegas, a casino resort in Laos.

In October, the Laos Government put Savan Vegas hotel up for sale through San Marco Capital Partners (SMC), the exclusive sales agent working on behalf of the Lao government. Shortlisted bidders include Iao Kun Group Holding Company Ltd., Groupe Lucien Barrière, PGP Investors, LLC, Macau Legend Development Ltd., and Silver Heritage Ltd., and RGB International.

“The winning bidder will receive the Complex assets and a concession agreement granting it the right to operate the Complex for a 50-year period,” said SMC.

On Apr. 12, 2016, the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands ruled in favor of John K. Baldwin and Bridge Capital over claims the investor had bribed Lao PDR officials over $300,000 that caused termination of an audit and also cost the Lao government $70 million in lost tax revenue over a five-year period.

The court noted the government’s’ claims were based on “little more than unsupported allegations of wrongdoing” and finding that it was “essentially motivated by bad faith.”