Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson Facing Investigation Over Alleged Chinese Crime Links

Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson faces more investigations into his Chinese casino affairs. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images)

Sands boss Sheldon Adelson could face an investigation into alleged links with prominent Chinese organized crime syndicates.

The Campaign for Accountability has reportedly asked the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Federal Election Commission to look into illicit Chinese cash being used for US political campaigns.

So far, however, Las Vegas Sands is sticking a middle finger squarely in the direction of the Washington DC-based watchdog group.

In a statement published this week, the Campaign for Accountability’s Anne Weismann spoke of the authorities’ long-held concerns about “the reach of the tentacles of Chinese organized crime.” They say they have collected hundreds of pages of allegedly incriminating evidence that suggests a link between Las Vegas Sands and Macau junket operators.

Las Vegas Sands shrugged off the accusations, with spokesman Ron Reese countering: “This stuff has been dragged out before and was repudiated by the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committeem, who were forced to apologize to Sands in 2012 about similar accusations].

“Once again, a political stunt is being used to try and discredit Mr. Adelson’s name.”

Alleged China Links Nothing New

It’s not the first time that Adelson has been linked with suspect cash from China. In May, a former chief executive of Sands’ Macau operations, Steven Jacobs, fought a wrongful dismissal case against the firm.

Jacobs alleged that he was fired for stopping payments to a prominent Macau legislator, arguing they could be misconstrued as bribes.

The former exec also alleged that Adelson himself was against breaking off links with Chinese criminal organizations.

Adelson, meanwhile, had to testify in court that his Macau operations didn’t have direct links with the leader of a top Triad outfit.

However, documents revealed in court showed that Cheung Chi Tai, the leader of the Wo Hop To triad organization, was involved with junket contracts. It’s these types of VIP junkets that have been so key to Macau casinos’ fortunes over the past few years and are now being curbed by the mainland.

Sands China operates several casinos in Macau, including the Venetian Macau, Sands Cotai Central, and Sands Macau. All of the casinos have been affected by the Chinese government’s crackdown on corrupt officials bringing in cash for VIP trips.

Despite the downturn, Sands is pushing ahead with a brand new casino. The Parisian on the Cotai Strip opens next year.

As the Chinese mainland continues its aggressive stance against the flow of illicit cash into the city, Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) in Macau’s casinos has been in steady decline.

This week, GGR figures for October showed a 17th straight month of decline for the city’s casino complexes.

China’s Fears Over Adelson ‘CIA Links’

While the US watchdogs fret over Adelson and his casino links, as well as where $100 million of campaign funds have appeared from, China has been busy with their own apparent fears over the gambling mogul.

In July, a confidential report was leaked which revealed the extent of China’s alleged paranoia over Adelson’s affairs in Macau.

According to the 2010 report, compiled by a private investigator, the Chinese government were convinced that, “US intelligence agencies are very active in Macao and that they have penetrated and utilized the US casinos to support their operations.” The investigation into China’s stance was actually commissioned by Sands China itself as it feared potential opposition from a hostile anti-gambling government.

“A reliable source has reported that central Chinese government officials firmly believe that Sands has permitted CIA/FBI agents to operate from within its facilities. These agents apparently ‘monitor mainland government officials’ who gamble in the casinos,” the leaked report revealed.

Written by
Jon Young
Jon Young is an experienced poker and gambling writer who hails from London, although recent fatherhood has forced an exodus into the Hertfordshire countryside (what US readers would call “the burbs”). A former editor of UK-based Flush Magazine as well as World Poker Tour (WPT) Magazine, Jon claims responsibility for giving some of the best poker players in the world their first featured covers. An avid live player (when the kids’ school drop-offs permit), Jon has played in tournaments across the world, from the WSOP in Las Vegas to the GUKPT outside of London.


Jabres wrote...

As much as I loathe Adelson for his involvement in the Republican party (I vote Republican mostly), I can’t help but just let out a big ol honkin’ “mehh” here. When you’re doing business in Macao, these sorts of things are kind of a given. That’s my view as far as the Chinese money goes.

On the other hand, look at who is investigating him. The Campaign for Accountability isn’t exactly known for it’s unilateral fairness. It has two people (that I know of) on it’s board who held leadership positions within the Democratic Party. We have a group similar to them in Texas that do the same type of partisan investigations on a local level.

I’m not saying that he doesn’t have it coming to him. I’m just saying that there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

runninggreg1 wrote...

I agree with Jabres…I also mostly vote Republican…only cuz the Libertarian Party has very little support. anyways…if this guy is breaking the law then punish him. There is probably more to the story. I would have liked to hear or get a better back ground of the group going after him. I don’t care what china says. they tell their people anything and they still have a one party government so…what ever they do tell their citizens could be truth or lies.

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