The Chinese government feared the Macau branch of Adelson Casinos, Sands China, a United States casino company owned by billionaire gambling magnate and Republican party funder Sheldon Adelson, was being used by the U.S. government and its Central Intelligence Agency for spying on and blackmailing Chinese officials who had debts and gambling problems, a report said.
“Many of the (Chinese) officials we contacted were of the view that U.S. intelligence agencies are very active in Macau and that they have penetrated and utilized the U.S. casinos to support their operations, ” the report said.
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The report, which was commissioned by Sands China itself and dated June 2010, was published by the British newspaper the Guardian Wednesday after being unearthed by the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley.
The report says that it was highly confidential and that it was not to be made public in mainland China due to its sensitive content.
The report was part of documents submitted to a court in the U.S. when Steven Jacobs, the head of Sands China in Macao at the time of the report, sued the parent company for wrongful dismissal. It seems that due to the Chinese government increasing suspicions of the U.S. establishment and restrictions on the gambling in Macao at the time, that the company sought to understand the reasons behind the behavior. “A reliable source has reported that central Chinese government officials firmly believe that Sands has permitted CIA/FBI agents to operate from within its facilities.
These agents apparently ‘monitor mainland government officials’ who gamble in the casinos, ” the report said. According to the unnamed investigator, the information in the secret report is based on influential sources, including three people in the Beijing office responsible for overseeing Macao and Hong Kong affairs, two Chinese foreign ministry sources and powerful Chinese businessmen with close ties to Beijing. “This source also reported that several PRC (People’s Republic of China) government bodies have reported ‘evidence’ of ‘U.S. agents’, operating from Sands, ‘luring’ and entrapping mainland government officials, involved in gaming, to force them to cooperate with U.S. government interests, ” the report added.
The reports says the Chinese government became alert to the increasing number of officials in Macao’s casinos, and the vast amount of money they were gambling in the small enclave. According to the report, Chinese estimates say more than US$2 billion were yearly gambled by Chinese officials at Macao. One of the concerns was the corruption of those officials who gambled at Macau as their salaries could not have provided such huge sums. Also it is illegal to transfer more than US$50, 000 a year to Macao from mainland China. The other concern was the more serious one that those officials were used by U.S. spies and operatives to gain access to Chinese secrets and gain a foothold in Macau.
The report said that due to this fact, the Chinese government refused a request by Washington to open a consulate in the enclave as it was viewed as interference. The report also highlighted that the Chinese government had grown suspicious of the gambling company as its owner U.S. Republican party money man Andelson was alienating government officials in the enclave.
Adelson made a statement that his casino business was set to change Macau’s development and elevate the territory to a new level. The report said Chinese officials interpreted this as an attempt to compete with their authority. Meanwhile, Jacobs stated as part of his lawsuit against the company that the billionaire casino magnate demanded he commission “secret investigations of high ranking Macau officials”.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. said Wednesday financial issues surrounding the Macau gaming community resulted in the casino company reporting a 19.4 percent decline in revenue and 30.1 percent drop in profits during the second quarter.