Is One GOP Megadonor A Gangster?
For years, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has contributed millions of dollars to Republican candidates, has been dogged by allegations and rumors of involvement in bribery, money laundering, and ties to Asian organized crime.
Naturally, the “mainstream” media has said little about these matters as they remain distacted and dazzled by that shiny object: “Ooooh, lookit all the priddy campaign cash!”
So The Doc is enjoying some rare Saturday morning schadenfreude, because it looks like the great big universal Lazy Susan of Karma has taken a 180-degree turn and served the notorious gambling magnate a fresh serving of badly-timed news:
Sheldon Adelson, the multibillionaire casino magnate and key Republican party donor, spent four combative days in a Las Vegas court this week defending his gambling empire from accusations of bribery and ties to organised crime.
By the time the hearing was over, Adelson had argued with the judge, contradicted the evidence of his own executives and frustrated his lawyers by revealing more information than he was required to in response to simple yes or no questions. But most importantly, far from laying the allegations against hisLas Vegas Sands conglomerate to rest, the billionaire’s answers threw up yet more questions which he is likely to have to return to court to answer.
On the court docket, the case is merely a wrongful dismissal suit. The former CEO of Adelson’s highly profitable casinos in the Chinese enclave of Macau, Steven Jacobs, is suing because he claims to have been sacked for trying to break links to organised crime groups, the triads, and for attempting to halt alleged influence peddling with Chinese officials.
The Guardian’s lengthy write-up is filled with juicy revelations and, while anyone in the dock is entitled to the presumption of innocence, you’ve got to wonder:
Adelson accused Jacobs of “squealing like a pig to the government” and of blackmail in taking his accusations to the US authorities. They include the allegation that Las Vegas Sands paid what amounted to bribes intended to influence the Macau authorities and the government in Beijing and that the casino did business with a notorious triad leader.
The information Jacobs provided to the authorities prompted continuing investigations by the US Justice Department and federal financial regulators. If these allegations are shown to be true, then Adelson’s gambling licences could be in jeopardy because associations with organised crime could prompt action by Nevada’s gambling authorities, always sensitive to Las Vegas’s history with the mafia. …
The casino magnate repeatedly told the court his company “was not doing business” with Cheung Chi Tai, a Hong Kong-born leader of the Wo Hop To triad. Cheung is barred from entering the US because of his “affiliation to organised crime”, a source in the homeland security department told the IRP.
“We had no direct [emphasis mine – The Doc] relationship with Cheung Chi Tai,” Adelson testified. …
Cheung was the major stakeholder in a junket company called Neptune which began running a VIP room at [Adelson’s] Sands Macau in 2005, according to Hong Kong court records. …
Adelson is also likely to face difficult questions about his denial that his company had ties to a senior Chinese official, Ng Lap Seng, who was described in court as “a courier” for Sands Macau and a link man to the Chinese government.
“I heard that he was a real estate developer or that he was the head of the real estate developers association or something,” Adelson testified.
Ng is perhaps better known as a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee, a political advisory body in China dominated by the Communist party.
Adelson told the court he was not aware of any association between Las Vegas Sands and Ng.
“I know of nobody in the company who had dealings with Ng,” he said.
Jacobs’ lawyer, James Pisanelli, told the Las Vegas court that Ng had acted as “a courier” for Adelson’s company.
The entire article is worth a read. The Doc is not, however, expecting GOP candidates, particularly those intent on buying the Oval Office, from shunning Sheldon.
But stay tuned. To borrow a line from the Newt era and the Clinton scandals, “It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate!” Besides, this whole mess is bound to get pretty interesting before Election Day 2016. ‘Nuff said…