The wrongful termination case, relating to one of Sheldon Adelson´s former employees in Macau, could result in the Las Vegas Sands losing its license.
Next week, arguments will be heard in a Las Vegas court to unseal “Exhibit 1100” – a report compiled by the former head of Hong Kong´s Criminal Intelligence Bureau, Steve Vickers. The report is believed to contain evidence that the Las Vegas Sands Corporation – through its Sands China operations – worked with the leader of the Wo Hop To triad, Cheung Chi Tai.
Cheung Chi Tai has already been identified as a “junket rep” who would bring high-rolling Chinese gamblers to Macau and lend them money to gamble. He was also known to be the “person in charge” of a VIP room at the Sands Casino in Macau. If a tie between the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Tai is established in the Vickers Report, the “business connection” could be enough evidence for the Nevada Gaming Control Board to strip the Las Vegas Sands of its gambling license.
How a Wrongful Termination Case Deteriorated
The reason for the court case being heard in the first place was to resolve a wrongful termination complaint by one of Sheldon Adelson´s former employees – Steven Jacobs. Jacobs was the former CEO of Sands China, and he claims that he was sacked by Adelson because he refused to authorize an investigation onto the private lives of high-ranking Macau government officials in order to “exert leverage”.
Jacobs also made allegations that Adelson had a close relationship with Leonel Alves – a Macau lawyer and legislator who had influence in Beijing – and a senior Chinese official, Ng Lap Seng, who was a “link man” to the Chinese government. Both of these officials allegedly received significant payments so that a blind eye would be turned towards the Sands China´s (alleged) association with organized crime.
Sheldon Adelson has denied the allegations and accused Jacobs of “squealing like a pig to the government”. He claims that Jacobs was sacked due to his gross incompetence, while Robert Goldstein – Adelson´s former head of global gambling operations – has given evidence in court that the Las Vegas Sands Corporation stopped doing business with Cheung Chi Tai when the company became aware of his criminal activities.
Note: In 2009, Cheung Chi Tai was convicted of conspiracy to commit bodily harm and solicitation of murder.
Breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The link between the wrongful termination case and the possible loss of Las Vegas Sands´ gambling license is alleged breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and US money laundering laws. In addition to the alleged large sums of cash circulating between Cheung Chi Tai, Sands China, Leonel Alves and Ng Lap Seng, the companies own documents show that $68 million in cash was flown from Macau to Las Vegas without being declared to US Customs (who needs online poker to facilitate money laundering Mr. Adelson?).
According to Jacobs, these funds were used to re-pay past debts incurred at the Las Vegas Sands casino, used as cash advances to high-rolling Chinese gamblers arriving in Las Vegas (to avoid the completion of federal tax documentation) or “for the benefit of persons unknown”. However, it is not Jacobs himself who is calling for the unsealing of “Exhibit 1100”, but two outside organizations who have, as yet, not been involved in the wrongful termination case.
Organizations Want to Unseal Exhibit 1100 for the Public Interest
The two organizations who want Exhibit 1100 unsealed are the Campaign for Accountability – a non-profit watchdog organization – and the UK publishing company Guardian News & Media. According to motions filed on Monday, the two organizations believe it is in the public interest to learn the extent to which Sheldon Adelson acquired money from criminal activity, which he then used to make campaign contributions to selected candidates seeking public office.
According to US law, foreign nationals are prohibited from making contributions in local, state or federal elections, and – if the alleged link between Triad organizations and the Las Vegas Sands Corporation is established in the Vickers report – it could have serious implications for Sheldon Adelson and the presidential candidates who are relying on his financial support.
Possibly the loss of the Sands Las Vegas gambling license is not Sheldon Adelson´s biggest concern right now!