Adelson Loses Bid to Move Corruption Trial to China

Conservative sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson is being sued by the former CEO of his casino in Macau, who has sued him and brought up allegations that he bribed Chinese officials and organized crime leaders there. Adelson wanted that trial moved to Macau, but a federal judge has ruled that the trial will take place in the United States.

A judge in Las Vegas has ruled that a lawsuit involving accusations of graft and organised crime ties to casinos owned by the multibillionaire and Republican party funder, Sheldon Adelson, will be heard in the US.

The decision raises the prospect of Adelson facing difficult questions about his business practices following allegations by a former chief executive of his highly profitable casinos in the Chinese enclave of Macau that a well-known triad crime figure was used to bring in high-rolling gamblers and of influence peddling with Chinese officials.

The case potentially has implications for Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands casinos because evidence of ties to criminal organisations could cost them their gaming licences.

It could also have a bearing on the 81-year-old billionaire’s considerable political influence. He is estimated to have spent $150m in a failed bid to secure a Republican victory over Barack Obama in the last presidential election and is being vigorously courted by Republican candidates in the next race.

Friday’s ruling follows a court battle earlier this month over jurisdiction in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit by the former chief executive of the Macau casinos, Steven Jacobs. He alleges that he was fired in part for blocking hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to a Macau legislator and lawyer because they may breach US anti-bribery laws. Jacobs also alleges Adelson opposed his attempts to break links to the triads…

Adelson and Las Vegas Sands wanted the lawsuit, which has been dragging through the courts since 2010, heard in Macau on the grounds that the casino operation there is independent of the Nevada-based parent company. But after hearings in which Jacobs’ lawyers portrayed the multibillionaire as very hands on in oversight of his Macau casinos from Las Vegas, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ruled that the full case could be heard in the Nevada.

This case is going to be explosive. In the pre-trial motions and hearings, Adelson has been caught flatly contradicting documents from his own company (we call that lying) and the evidence appears to be squarely against him on the bribery and organized crime questions.

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  • themadtapper

    “Your honor, I would like to request my case be decided by the people I’ve been bribing.”

    Jesus that’s some chutzpah right there.

  • theschwa

    I hope the court is ready to hand down a serious wrist slap. Oh, did you say multi- BILLIONAIRE? They also better get out the velvet gloves.

  • democommie

    I guess Adelson’s lieyer was pretty sure of an acquittal. Losing in a court in China can have muy bad consequences:

    Not that the chinese would bite the hand that feeds them.

  • Modusoperandi

    This is pretty bad. The fines alone could mildly inconvenience him. Worse, once you take in to account the nothing else that will happen to him…

  • Alverant

    How soon before we start hearing whines of “socialist oppression of an honest capitalist” from the right wing? After all, what’s more capitalist than bribing the government?

  • Johnny Vector

    ə @ 2:

    They also better get out the velvet gloves.

    And they’ll probably give him the chair. The comfy chair!

  • thebookofdave

    I’ve heard of it happening with defendants in a criminal trial, but this is the first case I have seen to be judged a flight risk and ordered to be held without bail.

  • zenlike


    You stole my comment. Indeed, in China there are people being executed for corruption. Not a jurisdiction I would want my trial to be moved to. So maybe the judiciary over there is also already in his pocket.

  • wrpinpnw

    Macau doesn’t currently use capital punishment, and hasn’t in almost forty years (per Wikipedia, anyway.) There’s always the chance that the PRC might choose this case as an opportunity to remind everyone who’s really in charge, but it wouldn’t be very likely.

  • John Hinkle

    Wow, just think of all the jobs Adelson won’t be able to create after the the government redistributes a tiny fraction of his wealth to the moochers. Thanks a lot Obama!

  • D. C. Sessions

    Oh, did you say multi- BILLIONAIRE? They also better get out the velvet gloves.

    You really don’t understand how seriously our Justice System takes things like this. The fines for that kind of behavior can run up into the millions.

  • Steven Schwartz

    Actually, there is a serious consequence here, IIRC: If he loses this case, he loses his Vegas (and likely any other) U.S. casinos, because he’d lose a license to operate. Sure, he can probably sell it/them, but at a significantly reduced price, since the buyer knows he can’t keep them running.

  • NS Alito

    Steven Schwartz @ 12

    I can see serious competitive bidding on the Sands property; people were falling all over each other trying the buy the L.A. Clippers.