Foreign Investment Board Steps Up Enforcement

For Immediate Release
Serial No. PR-18-096
February 15, 2018
Office of the President

Foreign Investment Board Steps Up Enforcement

The Foreign Investment Board is gearing up for increased enforcement in 2018. Amendments to the Foreign Investment Act give the Board new enforcement powers. The Board now has authority to conduct investigations, issue citations and refer illegal businesses to the Attorney General’s office for criminal prosecution.

Members of the Board recently reelected Susan Ngirausui to be Chairperson for 2018 and Fermin Meriang to be Vice-Chair. The remaining members of the Board are Ephraim Ngirachitei, Quincy Kuniyoshi, Stephanie Nakamura and the most recent appointee, Theodoro Rengulbai who was appointed in December of 2017. The Board has also recently hired Ellis Ellison as a full time investigator and Cameron Van Tassell as Legal Counsel and Interim Executive Director.

Having a full time investigator allows the Board to implement tough new powers in the 2017 amendment to the Foreign Investment Act. The Board now has the ability to conduct investigations, subpoena information and issue citations. When the Board discovers evidence that a business is a front, the Board can issue a notice of the violation and the business has thirty days to present evidence that the business is in compliance. If the Board determines that the business is a front, the Board can issue fines of up to $25,000. In January the Board initiated proceedings against five suspected illegal front businesses including two “AirBnb” bed and breakfasts, one retail store, a restaurant and one car rental operation. Several more investigations are underway. The Board expects to continue the year with strong enforcement.

FIB is also working closely with the Operation Clean Business Taskforce created by President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. The Taskforce allows the Board to share information with other agencies like Bureau of Revenue and Taxation, Department of Labor, Department of Immigration in order to detect illegal business practices.

Click on the following link to download this press release: Press Release re. Foreign Investment Board Steps Up Enforcement_15FEB2018_DRAFT