Sheldon Adelson under Scrutiny over Court Testimony

Published on Tuesday 12th May 2015, 10:41 am
Posted in: Casino Legal

Casino Legal

While Sheldon Adelson may simply be fighting against allegations of wrongful dismissal of an employee, his testimony in court last week raised several interesting questions about the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and its alleged business practices in Macau. What once seemed an open-and-shut case has now turned into an investigation of everything involving the casino mogul, his former employee and the questionable working relationships in the overseas branches of Adelson's casinos.

Technically, Adelson was only giving testimony in the case brought by Steven Jacobs, the former CEO of Sands Macau. Jacobs claims that he was fired for trying to separate the Sands group from links with organised crime in the autonomous region of China which is well-known for its casinos. While Adelson categorically denied that Cheung Chi Tai, a leader of the Wo Hop To Triad gang, had any involvement with Sands Macau, documents shown to the court allegedly show that $32 million in credit had been given to the junket run by Cheung in 2008 and that in 2010 he was granted access to the elite Chairman’s Club. A report produced by Reuters and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley also stated that Cheung was named as the man in charge of a VIP room at Sands Macau, despite Adelson’s insistence that the Sands had “no direct relationship” with the Triad leader.

At one point, Adelson described Jacobs as ‘squealing like a pig to the government’ and that he had engaged in blackmail because he had gotten in contact with US authorities over his concerns. During his testimony, he mentioned that believed that Jacobs had actually hypnotised a lawyer into examining the contracts made with legislators in Macau that may have glossed over alleged interactions with criminal elements. Adelson maintains that Jacobs was dismissed for incompetence.

The information Jacobs passed along to the authorities has triggered investigations into business practices at the Sands Corporation. If it is confirmed that the Macau wing of the organisation had links to organised crime, then Adelson could face the loss of his gambling licences - and the influence he wields over American politics.

Among other things, Adelson has made it clear that he is no fan of online gaming and is willing to use his considerable fortune (over $27 billion according to Forbes) to back politicians who are similarly opposed to online casinos, having reportedly spent over $150 million to ensure that Republicans were elected to Congress, and in 2014 gave $15,600 to South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham’s reelection campaign. Senator Graham then introduced a bill to ban Internet gaming. In February 2015, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) reintroduced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) bill, intended to put a stop to all online gaming and wagering.

If the current trial stays in America instead of moving to Macau, Adelson could expect to be asked even more uncomfortable questions in the near future. He may have a lot more to lose than just a wrongful termination case.

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