Sands' ties to Macau gambling figure draw scrutiny

August 25, 2012 02:26
1 minute read.

SAN FRANCISCO/MACAU - Las Vegas Sands allowed a man identified by the US Senate as an organized crime figure to move a $100,000 gambling credit from a Las Vegas casino to one of its Macau casinos, according to documents that emerged in the wake of a lawsuit filed by a former Sands employee.

The cooperation with an alleged crime boss could draw the attention of Nevada gambling regulators, who are charged with stopping casinos from bringing "disrepute" on the state, at a time when Sands is the focus of several government investigations.

Sands, controlled by billionaire and prominent Republican party donor Sheldon Adelson, is under investigation by US and Nevada regulators for payments that raised bribery concerns under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Evidence in a wrongful termination lawsuit by a former Sands China chief executive spurred the probes.

An internal list of customer accounts reviewed by Reuters shows a $100,000 credit moved from Sands' Venetian Las Vegas to the Sands Macao on Jan. 31, 2009, for Charles Heung Wah Keung.

Heung, a film executive and successful businessman, is the chairman of China Star Entertainment, a company listed in Hong Kong.

A 1992 US Senate subcommittee probe into Asian organized crime identified him as an officer of Sun Yee On, one of the triads, the Chinese organized crime groups known for everything from racketeering to loan-sharking to prostitution.

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