Political Watchdog Chasing Billionaire Sheldon Adelson on Organized Crime Ties

Posted on November 4th, 2015 by Jon Pineda
Sheldon Adelson political watchdog

Sheldon Adelson has made a fortune off casinos in Las Vegas and Macau, the latter being accused of putting the businessman in cahoots with Chinese criminals, a political watchdog says an enquiry is needed. (Image: Getty/huffingtonpost.com)

Political watchdog group Campaign for Accountability (CfA) is going after Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson on allegations that the billionaire is using money received from organized crime in China to fund his millions of campaign contributions to Republican candidates in the United States.

The newly formed watchdog going up against one of the world’s most powerful figures would likely have the same outcome as a Shih Tzu fighting a Rottweiler, which is why the activist organization is calling on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Federal Election Commission to investigate Adelson.

“Advocacy groups do not always have the capacity or will to take on the opposition directly,” the CfA’s website reads. “We will hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.”

Every Grain of Sands Examined

Macau is where Chinese millionaires and billionaires travel in order to launder money from their home country as it’s a special administrative region in the People’s Republic. Revenues topped $45 billion for casinos in Macau in 2013.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has since pushed for tougher regulations and enforcement of junket operators who cater to the VIPs and organize private rooms for the wealthy. Jinping’s clampdown has led to drastic reductions in Macau incomes.

In 2010, Reuters revealed that the Las Vegas Sands operations in the Chinese gambling territory Macau had ties to Cheung Chi Tai, a leader of the Wo Hop To Triad according to a 1993 US Senate probe.

The Sands ceased ties with Tai after the revelation of his criminal activities, though it still does business with a company in which he is one of the largest shareholders.

The CfA alleges that Adelson is also connected to Ng Lap Seng, a Chinese billionaire suspected of running a triad and prostitution ring in Macau. Seng is currently facing charges in New York on trying to bribe a United Nations official and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

CfA Executive Director Anne Weismann said in a press release, “Federal authorities have long been concerned about the reach of the tentacles of Chinese organized crime. If triad money is winding up in the campaign coffers of US politicians through Mr. Adelson’s contributions, the American people deserve to know it.”

“Given the extent to which Mr. Adelson’s wealth derives from Macau … it seems highly likely that illegal foreign money has made its way into American elections,” Weismann concluded.

Adelson Responds

Las Vegas Sands Corp. spokesman Ronald Reese responded to the serious allegations by denouncing them as nothing more than an “obvious political stunt.”

“Clearly the political silly season has started,” Reese said. “These tactics were tried and repudiated before.”

Indeed, it’s not the first time anti-Adelson groups have tried to connect the billionaire to illegal activities in China.

During the last presidential election, which Adelson gave $91,780,000 to conservatives, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) posed the question on its website, “What will Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor and House Republicans do with their Chinese prostitution money?”

After Adelson threated to sue, the DCCC issued a statement reading, “This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them.”

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