Adelson’s casino admits it “likely” violated anti-bribery law

Everything you need to know about the casino magnate's admission he may have broken the law

Topics: Sheldon Adelson, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich,

Adelson's casino admits it "likely" violated anti-bribery lawSheldon Adelson (Credit: AP/Wong Maye-e)

Casino mogel Sheldon Adelson is the GOP’s biggest single donor, spending between $98 million and $150 million on the 2012 election cycle alone and promising to give even more the next time around.

Why would Adelson spend so much money so haphazardly? Instead of spreading his wealth around or investing in candidates with the strongest win potential, Adelson did things like spend $20 million on Newt Gingrich, pumping in more cash even after it was clear he was going to lose?

For years, it’s been rumored that Adelson’s spending is, in addition to supporting his neoconservative ideological agenda, an attempt to insulate himself from looming government investigations into reported corruption at the Chinese holdings of his Las Vegas Sands Casino empire.

There have been reports of ties to Chinese mafia, money laundering, organized prostitution, and lawsuits from former partners.

But what was really said to worry Adelson is alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a U.S. law that holds American companies liable for bribery committed by their foreign subsidiaries. There have been reports of FCPA violations at Adelson’s Chinese Macau casinos for years, but he’s denied all of them, and never hesitated to sue journalists who write negative things about his businesses, sometimes to the point of bankruptcy.

Now, however, in a stunning disclosure, Las Vegas Sands has acknowledged in SEC filings that it probably violated the American anti-bribery law:



After the Company’s receipt of the subpoena from the SEC on February 9, 2011, the Board of Directors delegated to the Audit Committee, comprised of three independent members of the Board of Directors, the authority to investigate the matters raised in the SEC subpoena and related inquiry of the DOJ.
As part of the annual audit of the Company’s financial statements, the Audit Committee advised the Company and its independent accountants that it had reached certain preliminary findings, including that there were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA and that in recent years, the Company has improved its practices with respect to books and records and internal controls.

This is also the first time Adelson’s company has acknowledged being under investigation, confirming probes from both the SEC and Department of Justice.

Here’s why this would trouble Adelson so much: “Under federal law, individuals or companies that aid or abet a crime, including an FCPA violation, are as guilty as if they had directly committed the offense themselves.” In other words, Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands or even Adelson himself could be held in violation of the FCPA if the government can prove that they directed officials to make bribes or even if they covered up accounting anomalies to hide the bribe.

Why would Adelson think some campaign money could turn down the heat?

Because he’s done it before. In 2001, Adelson and a colleague flew to Beijing to meet with Chinese officials they were trying to court. Adelson wanted the government to allow more gamblers to Macau, where his casinos were based, and was looking to make a deal.

Chinese leaders were worried about a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that would direct the U.S. Olympic Committee to vote against China’s bid to host the 2008 Olympic because of its human rights record.

When he learned about this, Adelson called up former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who got back to him just a few hours later to say not to worry. “So you tell your mayor it can be assured that this bill will never see the light of day,” DeLay said, according to the New York Times. The next day, Adelson asked for the change he wanted in Macau.

And there is already a conservative campaign underway to gut the FCPA. Beginning in 2010, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce made a big push to relax the anti-bribery law in some key areas. A lengthy report from the group details amendments they would like to make to make it more businesses friendly.

Coincidentally or not, Las Vegas Sands holds a seat on the Chamber’s board of directors.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>