NEWS: Indictments imminent
By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) The casino's transactions with the Dirty 30 are due to the federal Grand Jury tomorrow morning (Thursday, January 30, 2020, at 9 a.m.). As of today, at least two cases were filed and sealed in the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands since Gov. Ralph Torres's consultant James Chua, and another local firm's executive testified before the Grand Jury.
And in federal filings today in the case against Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig, witnesses in the Atalig case are being withheld pending the government's agreement to grant them immunity from their crimes in exchange for their testimony.
"[T]here is a potential issue regarding the prosecution," the Atalig filing states. "This potential issue is not yet ripe and depends on what the testimony of witnesses called by the prosecution will be at trial and, potentially, negotiations between the parties."
New subpoenas also have been issued for further proof of money laundering by Mr. Torres, his brothers, their wives, and the Torres's associates.
It is suspected that the first two sealed cases contain indictments, and that many more indictments are imminent. This massive federal RICO case against the Torres family, the casino, and an unknown number of other public officials and corporations in the Marianas is unprecedented in this part of the country. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been swarming the islands of Saipan and Guam for the past several months gathering evidence; the United States Attorney has been building its case since the November 7, 2019 raids.
The sealed federal cases may contain indictments, for which arrests and subsequent arraignments are pending.
The investigation involves federal crimes that include money laundering, fraud, wire fraud, other crimes of public corruption, and foreign interference in a United States election.
Those charged, if convicted, will face major penalties, including a life time in federal prison.