Transfer of Las Vegas Sands Shares Lifts Sheldon Adelson’s Wife Miriam to Top Spot Among Israel’s Billionaires

Posted on: June 20, 2019, 10:32h. 

Last updated on: June 20, 2019, 10:32h.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson last year transferred millions of shares of the casino operator’s stock to his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, making her Israel’s wealthiest person.

Miriam Adelson seen with husband and LVS Chairman Sheldon Adelson in Israel last year. Transfers of company stock made her Israel’s richest person. (Image: Times of Israel/Ben Dori/Flash90)

A new addition to the list of Israel’s mega-rich, Miriam Adelson, 73, has an estimated worth of $22 billion, according to Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper that publishes the annual ranking of the country’s richest citizens. Adelson has dual American and Israeli citizenship.

At $22 billion, she is far ahead of the Roman Abramovich, the person in the second spot. Abramovich — a Russian oligarch who owns the English Premier League’s Chelsea football club — is worth an estimated $13 billion, according to Haaretz. He became an Israeli citizen in 2018.

To put Adelson’s fortune into context, she is worth more than Israel’s fifth-, sixth- and seventh-wealthiest people combined.

Health Concerns

Sheldon Adelson, who also serves as chairman of LVS, has an estimated net worth of $35.7 billion, placing him No. 24 on the Forbes list and making him the world’s richest gaming executive.

Adelson, 85, has been battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer that erodes the body’s lymphatic system. Ten years ago, he was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, a condition that weakens the hands and feet and causes limited mobility.

Earlier this year, LVS confirmed Adelson’s health issues and those concerns could be the impetus behind the massive transfer of stock to his wife Miriam.

As of February 25, Sheldon Adelson owns 396.71 million shares of LVS, according to Yahoo Finance data. A record of the company’s insider transactions, or purchases and sales of the stock by LVS executives, for the past two years indicate Miriam is a “beneficial owner” of more than 10 percent of Sands stock.

Shareholders owning 10 percent or more of a public company’s stock must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A Form 5 filing with SEC dated February 13, 2019 details multiple executions in which Sheldon Adelson moved LVS stock to a trust in his wife’s name, ranging in size from 276,1000 shares to 3.65 million shares. The stock is down 27.43 percent over the past year.

Meet Miriam Adelson

The Adelsons were married in 1991 and the two have been major supporters of Israeli causes and Republican candidates in the US. During the 2018 midterm election cycle, the couple gave $113 million to the GOP, making them the party’s largest donors.

The couple are already throwing their weight around for the 2020 presidential election cycle, having given $10 million to the American First Action political action committee (PAC), which is leading President Trump’s reelection effort.

In Israel, Miriam Adelson publishes the daily newspaper Israel Hayom, a publication that has been criticized for being too supportive of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Born Miriam Farbstein, she is rumored to have once had a cozy relationship with Netanyahu’s wife, Sara.

The founder of drug addiction treatment centers in Las Vegas and Tel Aviv, Adelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump last year. By some accounts, she is responsible for shifting her current husband’s political leanings to the right because prior to their marriage, the casino mogul was a Democratic donor.