Chinese fears that Sheldon Adelson and the CIA were in cahoots to trap corrupt Beijing officials have been revealed in a report.
The private investigator’s report, commissioned in 2010 by Adelson’s Sands China Ltd due to company concerns over the local government’s opposition to gambling, stated that the Chinese government believed billionaire gambling mogul Adelson was working with the intelligence services to spy on public officials embezzling public funds to use in Macau.
The report was kept under wraps for five years until it was uncovered by the University of California’s Investigative Reporting Program.
The report clearly stated that it shouldn’t be shown to mainland China.
It was only this year that the report came to light following a wrongful dismissal case in Las Vegas involving the former CEO of Adelson’s Sands Macau operation.
US Intelligence “Very Active” In Macau
According to the report, “many of the (Chinese) officials we contacted were of the view that US intelligence agencies are very active in Macau and that they have penetrated and utilized the US casinos to support their operations.”
The report went on to claim that Sands Macau itself was being specifically targeted by the Chinese authorities.
“A reliable source has reported that central Chinese government officials firmly believe that Sands has permitted CIA/FBI agents to operate from within its facilities,” it said.
“These agents apparently ‘monitor mainland government officials’ who gamble in the casinos.
“This source also reported that several PRC (People’s Republic of China) government bodies have reported ‘evidence’ of ‘US agents’, operating from Sands, ‘luring’ and entrapping mainland government officials, involved in gaming, to force them to cooperate with US government interests.”
Reacting to suggestions that Sands was somehow working with the US intelligence services, Sands’ senior VP for global communications and corporate affairs, Ron Reese, told The Guardian:
“As for the document’s narrative that Sands is a front for US intelligence efforts, well that sounds like an idea for a movie script.
“Unfortunately for conspiracy theorists, what has emerged, as the company has maintained all along, is a document that Steve Jacobs actually ordered for his own personal purposes and is simply a collection of meaningless speculation. In essence, it is much ado about nothing.”
Former Sands Man Sues Over Dismissal
The report’s appearance is the latest twist in a messy courtroom saga involving Adelson’s once-trusted Macau right-hand man.
Jacobs testified in court to say he was fired after objecting to “excessive” payments made to a Macau legislator.
Although Adelson approved a $700,000 payment to Leonel Alves, both Jacobs and company lawyers objected to the high payments amid concerns they could breach US bribery laws.
Chinese “Fears” Over US Influence
It’s not news that the Chinese government has been hostile to Macau for some time.
President Xi Jinping has been busy cracking down on corruption by public officials, and has enforced various financial restrictions on mainland visitors travelling to the gambling mecca.
The loss of ‘VIP’ traffic has been a major blow for Macau casinos, and Sands in particular, together with a general economic slowdown in China.
The report also revealed the extent of Chinese government concerns over public officials, stating:
“A source of considerable concern is, according to a well-placed Beijing government contact, an internal Central Government agency report that estimates some US$2 billion is annually gambled away by serving Chinese government officials visiting Macao.”
While the fear over officials taking public money with them to Macau to gamble with has been a long-held fear of the Chinese, it’s now evident that the Beijing government is anxious about the CIA getting their hands on officials too.
“There is a widely held perception amongst officials that Sands serves the interests of the US government in Macau,” the report suggested.