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.