Sunday, July 08, 2012

Obama Plays The China Card Against Romney-- What Will Organized Crime Boss Sheldon Adelson Do?


I have nothing against China. In fact, I have tremendous admiration for the country and their history. The very first real hit song I ever had on my indie label was named China (and I'll make a fraction of a cent in royalties if you click that link!) But the U.S. has a real China problem and it's all about how greed-obsessed self-serving plutocrats in our own country-- people like Mitt Romney, though not just Mitt Romney-- have bribed our political elites into allowing them to enrich themselves by hollowing out the U.S. manufacturing base by sending entire industries to cheap labor markets, particularly China. When you hear a politician talking about "free trade," that's what they're talking about. And that would be 90% of Republicans and all the Blue Dogs and New Dems (i.e., the Republican wing of the Democratic Party).

And there's a much darker side to this mess, recently enabled by a ruling, Citizens United, by the most corporate-dominated Supreme Court in American history, a ruling that opens the door, for the first time, to foreign money coming in and buying elections for politicians that serve their interests. That's why John Boehner is Speaker of the House pushing pro-China trade policies and why we have a Senator Ron Johnson pushing China's interest rather than Wisconsin's instead of Senator Russ Feingold and why we have a Senator Pat Toomey pushing China's interest rather than Pennsylvania's instead of Senator Joe Sestak. Chinese money, laundered through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other right-wing SuperPACS, helped buy the 2010 congressional elections for the GOP. And now they want to make sure they put in a U.S. president who will push their interests as well. And that would be Mitt Romney. They're not wiring bags of Renminbi and yuan to Romney's accounts in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and the Bahamas (as far as anyone knows). Instead, they're laundering the money through organized crime boss Sheldon Adelson, the biggest single contributor to Romney's campaign and to the GOP... and a dirtbag fighting multiple foreign corrupt practices charges that could land him in prison if Romney isn't elected, a man who bridges the gap between the America Mafia and the Chinese triads. Cash from Adelson's gambling and prostitution empire in China is flowing into the American electoral system at a rate never before imagined in the country's history. Friday, the National Memo nervous about Adelson's penchant for suing journalists who probe too deeply into his mob connections, gingerly examined a few hard-to-ignore superficial aspects of the Adelson-Chinese Organized Crime relationship. (Keep in mind, Adelson has vowed to spend $100 million on buying Romney the White House-- and his motivation is decidedly NOT simply his primary loyalty to Israel over America.)
Not much more than a decade ago, his Sands Hotel and Casino ranked fifth in revenues on the Las Vegas Strip. With a mere billion in the bank, he ranked 274 on Forbes’ list of Richest Men in America. Now with a net worth of $25 billion, he is ranked the eighth richest American, just behind the notorious Koch brothers.

Adelson owes his improved fortures to Macau, the island province recoverd by China in 1999 after more than 400 years of colonial rule by Portugal. What was once a government monopoly on gambling was opened up by Beijing authorities to private operators, with 21 bidders for three licenses. Despite its financial weakness compared with its Vegas competitors, Adelson’s company came out on top.

The questions that continue to haunt Adelson are why officials in Macau and Beijing decided to award a gaming license to him-- and how he conducted business there in the years since. Indeed, those questions are the subject of ongoing litigation between Adelson and two executives who formerly worked for him: Richard Suen, who claims to have successfully escorted the Vegas billionaire through the complex, mystifying political systems of China and Macau; and Steven C. Jacobs, who ran the Sands China casino in Macau until Adelson abruptly fired him.

Although Adelson promised Suen a payment of $5 million plus two percent of LVSI’s net profits in Macau as a “success fee,” he was never paid. In 2008 a Las Vegas jury awarded Suen $43.8 million for his role in Adelson’s campaign for a Macau license. But the court’s decision was overturned on appeal and the case will be retried in 2013.

Their business relationship began in November 2000, when Adelson hired Suen as a consultant to advise how he might gain influence with the Communist leadership in Beijing and thus win a gaming license in Macau. Suen testified that he believed Adelson’s “strong affiliations with the Republican Party” would win him the attention of top government officials, including then-Vice Premier Qian Qichen, who oversaw Macau.

It was Adelson’s political connections, according to his own testimony, that got him the highly unusual meeting with Qian. His opportunity arose when members of Congress filed legislation designed to prevent China from hosting the 2008 Olympics due to human rights violations. Adelson simply used his clout as a major Congressional donor to kill the bill, calling “four or five” Representatives. At a Fourth of July picnic, he spoke with then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) about the bill.

Bejing soon won the Olympic bid, and Adelson subsequently met with Vice Premier Qian in 2001 at the Purple Light Pavilion-- the illustrious Beijing venue where Qing Emperors once received imperial emissaries and foreign generals. In February 2002, China’s rulers awarded Adelson a gaming license for Macau.

Not long after the Sands Macau opened in 2004, Adelson’s corporate profits began an astronomical rise. Since then, Adelson and his company have built two more casinos on the Chinese island. In 2012, first quarter revenue nearly doubled from 2011 for the Las Vegas Sands Corp, with one casino alone averaging nearly $4.5 million in revenue per day.

Yet despite his stratospheric wealth Adelson is, much like his Vegas casino in 1999, “currently vulnerable.” Probes by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission could threaten his empire.

If those probes find wrongdoing, the chief witness may be Jacobs, former CEO of Sands China, the Macau casino, is also suing the mogul and his company for wrongful termination. Among other claims, Jacobs has alleged in court papers that Adelson demanded secret investigations of high-ranking Macau government figures in order to thwart regulation of his businesses. The plaintiff is Jacobs, who received a $2.5 million bonus two months prior to his dismissal, claims Adelson wanted him to use improper “leverage” against senior government officials-- and to refrain from disclosing information concerning the company’s alleged involvement with the island’s “Triad” criminal gangs, among other issues, to the LVSI board of directors.

According to Jacobs, Adelson was determined to “aggressively grow” the junket business, which brings high-rolling gambling patrons to special “VIP rooms” at Macau casinos-- despite credible allegations that the junkets are controlled by Triad racketeers. In 2010, Reuters reported that a top Triad gangster and junket owner had shared in profits from a Sanda VIP room.

Attorneys for Jacobs have filed court documents stating that he is a cooperating witness in probes under way by the Justice Department and the SEC into whether Adelson’s firms have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by maintaining a top Macau official on the Sands China payroll.

As a casino operator in Las Vegas, Adelson is subject to Nevada laws regulating gaming. Should federal authorites uncover any overseas malfeasance, the gambling baron could lose his license-- and taint all of the money donated to his political favorites. No wonder he wants more and better friends in Washington.

The rotund, swinish Adelson is exhibit number one for why Eisenhower-era 91% tax rates on billionaires must be brought back if America is to continue as a democracy. That simple.

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At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked for Adelson and his company The Interface Group in the early to mid 1980's when he made his fortune which allowed him to buy the Sands and start his gambling empire.

There is no doubt in my mind that he would do anything.... I mean anything... to achieve his goals.

He is by far the most disgusting human I have ever met.


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