The Las Vegas Sands Corporation, an international gambling corporation, founded and controlled by billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson, admitted today, for the first time, that “there were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA”, this according to the Macau Daily Times.
Since 2004, the Sands Corporation has built two casinos in Macau, the Sands Macau and the Venetian, and has seen records profits thanks to its strategic location. Once a Portuguese colony and now a semi-autonomous archipelago on the Pearl River Delta, Macau is the only place on Mainland China where gambling is permitted.
However, according to the New York Times, the Sands came under federal scrutiny when Steven C. Jacobs, the Sands former president of operations in Macau, sued the corporation for wrongful termination. In his suit, Jacobs claimed that he was fired after refusing to give in to Adelson’s “illegal demands” that he secretly investigate Macau government officials so that they may use the information as “improper leverage”.
In addition, the Chinese gambling industry is riddled with corruption, as government officials control even the flow of visitors. One such official, Leonal Alves, was hired by the Sands as a legal adviser to assist the company in acquiring the necessary licenses, according to The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. However, Alves was paid $700,000 in legal fees over a four month period, which is far higher than what most legal firms charge.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which forbids the payment of bribes in any form to foreign officials, was signed into law in 1977. It was enacted following an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission which revealed that over 400 companies paid hundreds of million of US Dollars in bribes to foreign officials.
Mr. Adelson’s worth was estimated at $24.9 billion. During the recent presidential election in the US, he became the largest single donor in US history, spending upwards of $60 million on various republican candidates, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the eventual Republican presidential candidate W. Mitt Romney.
On her show, Maddow commented about Adelson’s motives for supporting the Republican Party, speculating that he was hoping to use his influence with the Romney Administration to undermine the Justice Department’s investigation.