When Newt Gingrich’s campaign was floundering in Iowa, it was given new life with millions of dollars in donation by billionaire Sheldon Adelson to Newt’s SuperPAC “Winning Our Future.”
Worth an estimated $21.5 billion, 78-year-old Adelson is the 8th richest man in America and has almost single-handedly financed Gingrich’s second campaign surge. So far, Mr. Moneybags has given $10 million to Newt’s campaign and has promised $20 million more will be forthcoming. Adelson’s large donations have allowed Gingrich supporters to buy TV ads in key states, helping Newt to defeat Mitt Romney in the South Carolina Republican primary.
Adelson is the founder and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns the Sands Macau casino and hotel on the island of Macau, China — the largest gambling mecca in the world. But now he is under federal investigation after a lawsuit claims he has ties to Chinese organized crime.
Michael Zennie reports for the UK’s Daily Mail, Jan. 29, 2012, that the Department of Justice and SEC are investigating whether Las Vegas Sands violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that prohibits bribing foreign officials.
The investigation stems from a lawsuit filed in October 2010 by a former executive at the Sands Macau in China. Steven C. Jacobs claims he was told to keep quiet about investigations of local officials and the possible presence in the casino of Chinese organized crime syndicate The Triads.
Jacobs, who ran the resort, says in his lawsuit that he was wrongly fired from the company after he objected to allegedly illegal actions that he was asked to perform. Among them: Jacobs claims Adelson wanted him to hire a Chinese lawyer to dig up “negative information” on local Macau officials that the company could use as leverage.
Jacobs says he also disagreed with Adelson over increasing the casino’s use of junkets — trips to Macau by groups of high-rolling gamblers organized by third-party groups.
Some junkets in Macau have been organized by members of Chinese organized crime syndicates. Reuters reported in 2010 that alleged Triad crime boss Cheung Chi-tai, who was connected with a junket to the Sands Macau, was running one of the VIP rooms at the casino, according to witnesses. That information came out at a trial of four men convicted of breaking a Sands dealer’s arms and legs, allegedly on Cheung’s orders.
In his lawsuit, Jacobs says Adelson ordered him to keep Cheung’s name and any information about possible Triad involvement secret from the casino’s board of directors.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has strenuously denied Jacobs’ claims and says he was fired for striking unauthorized deals and violating company policy.
Sheldon Adelson, who founded and runs Las Vegas Sands Corp — one of the largest casino and resort companies in the world — has denied the allegations in the lawsuit and said the company is cooperating with federal investigators. At a public forum last year, Adelson said the investigation is “not a serious matter” and that “When the smoke clears, I am 1,000 percent positive that there won’t be any fire below it.”
Here’s an interesting article on Sheldon Adelson. He’s pro-Israel but a social liberal. Newt’s SuperPAC is funded by Adelson.