FBI says investigation ongoing

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FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation spokesman Jason White said investigation is still ongoing in the case that involved search warrants executed on Saipan in Nov. 2019.

Asked if an indictment will be filed, he said it is the grand jury that decides, “based on the information provided by the prosecutor, if there is sufficient evidence to bring charges or indict a subject.”

Asked about a possible time frame for the grand jury, White said: “It could be one day but most likely days, months, or even years in some cases.”

On Nov. 7, 2019 the FBI executed a search and seizure warrant signed by District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona who authorized the search and seizure of “all documents, records, and property (whether in the form of printed documents or stored in electronic or digital form) that constitute evidence of violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1346, 1349, 1956 and/or 52 U.S.C. §30121 by Gov. Ralph Torres, his brothers Vincent Torres, Victorino Torres, and Joaquin Torres, Alfred Chi-Yam Yue of Marianas Consultancy LLC or Ron Li Anderson of Legend Realty.”

The laws cited pertain to fraud by wire, radio, or television; scheme or artifice to defraud; attempt and conspiracy; laundering of monetary instruments; and contributions and donations by foreign nationals.

A former federal law enforcer who requested anonymity told Variety that “a prosecutor or investigators could provide the grand jury batches of documents especially in complicated cases that involve multiple defendants. People must understand, the prosecution is building a case, and evidence of wrongdoing cannot be reached in one grand jury proceeding.”

The federal court also subpoenaed the records custodian of Imperial Pacific International to testify before a grand jury in connection with the simultaneously executed search warrants by the FBI on Saipan in November.

The grand jury subpoena sought all communication between IPI and Gov. Torres discussing and summarizing cash donations to the Friends of Ralph organization and to any other political campaigns dated on or after Sept. 1, 2013, among other things.

On Feb. 14, 2020, the FBI and CNMI Office of the Public Auditor agents executed a search warrant on the apartment of Eson Yuen, IPI’s director of strategic planning.

The governor and IPI have denied committing any wrongdoing.

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