When Steven C. Jacobs was the CEO of Sheldon Adelson’s Sands China casino operations in Macau, he made one thing very clear to his billionaire boss: Putting Leonel Alves on the payroll as legal counsel may “pose serious risks.” But Adelson ignored Jacobs’ advice and hired Alves, a Macau legislator who has worked for companies with connections to organized crime in China.
He fired Jacobs instead.
Among the perils foreseen by Jacobs – which have materialized in full since he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Adelson in 2010 – are ongoing investigations of Sands China by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commmission, spurred in part by the hotel casino’s payments to Alves.
The Alves probe only represents one aspect of the federal investigation into Adelson’s overseas affairs. But the financial relationship between Alves and Sands China may violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices act, which could in turn cost Adelson his casino operating license as a penalty for venal acts — and taint the millions of dollars he has donated to support the presidential candidacies of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
According to Jacobs, Adelson purportedly hired Alves in 2009 to act as a conduit to government officials in Macau and Beijing. At the time, Adelson and his Las Vegas Sands Corp. were weighed down by $11 billion in debt and business was suffering from the global economic maelstrom. Then Alves received an offer for a lucrative backdoor deal.