Campaign for Accountability Seeks Records That May Reveal Link Between Sheldon Adelson’s Campaign Contributions and Money Tied to Chinese Gangs

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2015

Contact: Anne Weismann, 202-780-5750

Campaign for Accountability (CfA) is petitioning a Nevada court to release reports expected to reveal connections between Chinese gangs, known as triads, and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) casinos in Macau.  Sheldon Adelson is chairman and CEO of LVS.  The “Vickers Reports,” prepared by Steve Vickers, formerly head of the Hong Kong Police Force’s Criminal Intelligence Bureau and a renowned expert on triads, allegedly describe business ties between LVS and Cheung Chi Tai and Heung Wah Keung, high ranking members of Chinese triads.  A hearing on the matter is set for July 10, 2015.

These reports have been admitted as evidence, but are under seal in a breach of contract case filed against LVS by Steve Jacobs, the former chief executive officer of LVS’s Macau operations.  Nevada law presumes all stages of court proceedings should be open to the public and a court must find a compelling interest to keep information secret.  CfA seeks the records to discover whether Mr. Adelson has used money acquired through criminal activity to make campaign contributions to candidates for public office.

CfA Executive Director Anne Weismann stated, “Sheldon Adelson is the single largest political donor in history.  The source of his contributions and the possibility that he may be using the campaign contribution process – knowingly or not – to launder illegally acquired money is a matter of serious consequence.  Because the Vickers Reports are likely to shed light on this question they should be available to the public.”

A huge percentage of Macau casinos’ profits derive from the VIP rooms run by Chinese junket operators, which according to a 2013 U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission report to Congress, are dominated by Asian organized crime.  The VIP rooms also serve to launder money.  The Venetian Macau worked with a junket operator financed by Cheung Chi Tai, named in a 1991 U.S. Senate report as the leader of a triad.

Last month, Nevada Judge Elizabeth Gonzales issued a decision stating Mr. Adelson controls nearly every aspect of LVS’s business, including its activities in Macau.  As a result, he is likely aware of the junket operators’ illegal conduct and the true source of the hundreds of millions of dollars he has made through his Macau gambling enterprise.

Weismann continued, “Mr. Adelson’s fortune stems from Macau casinos, which derive their profits largely from junkets controlled by the triads.  The question is whether Asian gang money has wound up in the campaign coffers of American candidates.”

U.S. law prohibits foreign nationals from directly or indirectly making any contributions in connection with federal, state, or local elections.  In 2012, in an interview with PBS, Senator John McCain noted, “much of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from his casino in Macau . . . which says that, obviously, maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign – political campaigns.”

Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.

Read CfA’s Motion below or click here

Read more about Adelson’s Macau gambling enterprise here

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