The Shadowy Macau Lawyer Behind Federal Probe Of Adelson’s Billions

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 10, 2012 2:46 PM GMT
    July 9th, 2012 11:21 pm by Kyle Roerink on the National Memo

    When Steven C. Jacobs was the CEO of Sheldon Adelson’s Sands China casino operations in Macau, he made one thing very clear to his billionaire boss: Putting Leonel Alves on the payroll as legal counsel may “pose serious risks.” But Adelson ignored Jacobs’ advice and hired Alves, a Macau legislator who has worked for companies with connections to organized crime in China.

    He fired Jacobs instead.

    Among the perils foreseen by Jacobs – which have materialized in full since he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Adelson in 2010 – are ongoing investigations of Sands China by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commmission, spurred in part by the hotel casino’s payments to Alves.

    The Alves probe only represents one aspect of the federal investigation into Adelson’s overseas affairs. But the financial relationship between Alves and Sands China may violate theForeign Corrupt Practices act, which could in turn cost Adelson his casino operating license as a penalty for venal acts — and taint the millions of dollars he has donated to support the presidential candidacies of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

    According to Jacobs, Adelson purportedly hired Alves in 2009 to act as a conduit to government officials in Macau and Beijing. At the time, Adelson and his Las Vegas Sands Corp. were weighed down by $11 billion in debt and business was suffering from the global economic maelstrom. Then Alves received an offer for a lucrative backdoor deal.

    Emails obtained by the Wall Street Journal show that Alves wrote to Jacobs about “someone high ranking in Beijing” who proposed that Las Vegas Sands pay a $300 million bribe to win the government’s approval for the construction of a luxury apartment complex in Macau — and to kill a lawsuit against Sands China claiming that the casino operator improperly terminated a contract with the Taiwanese businessman Marshall Hao.

    In one email, Alves quoted a Beijing official who told him to “talk to Mr. Adelson and find an agreement, ASAP, for the lawsuit.” He wrote to Jacobs: ”At the same time, he told me there is a way to get the necessary permission to allow the sale of the serviced apartments,” Alves wrote to Jacobs. He also wrote that “there is an amount to be agreed by Mr. Adelson in order to settle the twoissues.”

    The Las Vegas Sands denied making bribes or receiving improper benefits. Alves complained that the Journal‘s report was “taken out of context” and ”not accurate.”

    The public record tells little about Alves, but his myriad connections with China’s elites extend beyond politics. He is a legal adviser to China Star Entertainment Limited, for instance, a Hong Kong film production company and distributor owned and operated by one Charles Heung.

    Heung happens to be the son of the Sun Yee On triad’s founder, Heung Chin. Yet today, the son of one of China’s most notorious gangsters denies any involvement with the sordid world of Sun Yee On, which boasts more than60,000 members and powerful connections with the upper echelons of Chinese politics. The films that Heung bankrolls often portray the criminal environment in which his father thrived – a world of money laundering, illegal arms sales, prostitution, violence-tinged debt collection and–of course–gambling. Despite Heung’s pleas of innocence, a 1992 Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report on Asian crime identified him as an official of the triad—an accusation rejected by Heung.

    But when Heung applied for a Canadian visa in 1995, he was rejected due to evidence that placed him “on the ruling council” of the Sun Yee On triad. In a 1994 New York Chinatown racketeering case, a former Sun Yee On member testified that Heung was one of “the top guys, the biggest” in the society.

    The connection with Hueng is not the only tie between Alves and reputed gangsters. From 2006 to 2008, Alves was listed as a solicitor for Galaxy Entertainment Group, a Hong Kong-based casino operator.

    In 20202, when Sands China first won its casino license in Macau, it was partnered with Hong Kong-based casino operator Galaxy — but Nevada gaming regulators ended the relationship due to Galaxy’s controversial” VIP room” practices at the Sands in Macau.

    Back in 2007, William Weidner, the former president of the Sands in Las Vegas, cited the difficultnature of the relationship between Galaxy and his former company during a deposition in an unrelated case. “These guys want to do VIP rooms the way they … do them in Macau where the … triad guys run them, because they’re the only ones that can grant and collect credit in mainland China, and they smuggle [Chinese currency] across the border,” he said. “I can’t do that business. That’s the way they want to do it, so I can’t do it.”

    The link between underground crime societies and Macau’s gambling industry is no surprise. But why Adelson insisted on hiring Alves — even after he was warned of the consequences — is still unknown. The associations and business relationships Adelson sought in Alves could, depending on what the DOJ and SEC find, become the leviathan that topples the Adelson empire.

  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 23393

    Jul 10, 2012 3:01 PM GMT
    realifedad said

    Ummmm....NO...Besides, pretty much any and ALL major contributions to politicians are probably tainted in some way.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 10, 2012 3:28 PM GMT
    CJ, just because some others have some guilt, doesn't justify a major offender getting a pass. (of course 'the jury is still out', but its not looking good for Adelson)

    Here's what one Jewish American group has to say on the subject.

    Jewish Dems call on Romney, GOP to give back Adelson cash

    July 5, 2012

    WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish Democrats called on Mitt Romney and Republicans not to accept money from Sheldon Adelson because of allegations that the casino magnate approved of prostitution at his China properties.

    "This week, reports surfaced that in addition to his anti-union and allegedly corrupt business practices, Adelson 'personally approved' of prostitution in his Macau casinos," David Harris, the president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, wrote in an appeal to NJDC supporters to sign on to a petition making the call. "Given these reports, Romney and the rest of the Republican Party must cease accepting Adelson’s tainted money immediately."

    Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said the call was "disgusting" because it was based on allegations in a lawsuit filed by Steven Jacobs, a casino executive who was fired by Adelson in 2010.

    "Setting aside their partisan agenda, the NJDC should be ashamed of itself for attacking someone who has done more for the Jewish community and Jewish philanthropy than anyone in recent history," Brooks said, citing Adelson's major contributions to the Birthright Israel program, which brings Jewish youth to Israel, and to Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial museum.

    "If this is proven to be nothing more than rantings of an employee in legal battle, NJDC is going to have a lot of egg on its face," Brooks said. "If they were truly mensches about it, they would wait unitl it is adjudicated."

    Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given tens of millions of dollars this year to political committees supporting Republicans in general and Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, in particular, although it is not clear if he has directly given to Romney.

    He is also a major funder of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
    Adelson has clashed repeatedly with unions at his Las Vegas properties. Earlier this year it was reported that federal authorities are investigating allegations that he bribed Chinese officials to advance his interests there.

    I wonder, is it anti semitic for democratic and liberal leaning American Jewry to point out the facts against this primary Dual National Donor to Romney ?

    I hardly think so !! This is a conversation that must be had to solve the problem of our government being up for auction to the highest bidder.