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    Wednesday, February 21, 2018-5:40:58A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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$75M fine a big hurdle for Tinian investor

TINIAN — Tim Chen, principal owner of Tinian Entertainment Corp., is interested in taking over and running the now defunct Tinian Dynasty hotel-casino, but he said the $75 million fine imposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCen is a major concern.

Chen chartered a flight from Hong Kong to Tinian on Friday to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Tinian International Airport which is now complete after 20 years of construction and renovations.

Chen also met with the Tinian leadership late in the afternoon to discuss his plans regarding Tinian Dynasty.

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Investor Tim Chen arrives at Tinian International Airport on Friday afternoon. Chen chartered a flight from Hong Kong.  Photo by Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

In an interview, Chen said he is the creditor of the former owner of Tinian Dynasty, Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments Ltd. or HKE, and he is interested in renovating the hotel-casino to make it operational again.

But he said the only thing holding him back is Dynasty’s $75 million obligation to FinCen which imposed the fine for HKE’s failure to develop and implement an anti-money-laundering program.

Chen said the negotiations for Tinian Dynasty started two years ago, but things can’t move forward because of the huge obligation that the new investor has to assume.

He said he still wants to re-open the hotel, “and that’s one reason why I brought some investors along with me to try to convince them to invest in this island — we will have a meeting with the mayor and the delegation members to discuss the project.”

Chen said he doesn’t know whether the hotel can be re-opened soon.

“I hope it’s possible. I am willing to invest and that’s why I hired a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. to help me resolve this FinCen issue.”

Senate Floor Leader Frank Borja said he understands the investor’s predicament because the liability is “too big.”

“That’s our biggest concern too,” he said, but added that re-opening Tinian Dynasty would be a great opportunity now that the island has finally completed the construction of an airport that can cater to international flights.

Still, he said, there are other issues that need to be addressed, among them being the labor pool.

CPA board member Kimberly King-Hinds said the lack of an adequate workforce is a big challenge.

“If you are an investor your concern is where would the workers be coming from. Opening a hotel iwould be difficult…as we don’t have workers here. We have Tinian Dynasty but there’s a lot of renovation to do and that requires workers which we don’t have…. So opening the Tinian International Airport is just the beginning, a foundation for Tinian as it tries to attract more investors.”