SAN FRANCISCO - Nevada regulators are investigating whether casino powerhouse Las Vegas Sands Corp broke bribery laws through its dealings in mainland China, adding to a growing number of inquiries into the empire of Sheldon Adelson.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board's probe, disclosed by two sources familiar with the matter, comes on top of reviews by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which the company confirmed in a March filing.
All three inquiries may have their roots in a breach-of-contract suit brought in Nevada by Steve Jacobs, former chief executive of Sands China Ltd, Sands' largest subsidiary. He is now cooperating with US officials who are following up on his claims, according to records and interviews.
In that suit, Jacobs alleges he was fired after repeatedly clashing with Adelson over "Adelson's illegal demands". High on the list of disagreements was whether to hire a Macau official as a local legal counsel, which Jacobs said raised the risk of breaking US anti-corruption law. Sands has denied illegal activity from the beginning, and Adelson has been quoted as saying "none of what he says is true and he can't prove it."