Yesterday reportedly saw a top official in the Japanese government deny an accusation that United States President, Donald Trump, had asked the Asian nation’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, to ‘strongly consider’ a casino bid being made by Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
ProPublica published first account:
According to a report, the allegation was first published by the ProPublica non-profit news organization on Wednesday as part of an investigation into ties between Trump and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Sheldon Adelson (pictured).
Request came ‘out of the blue’:
ProPublica reportedly detailed that 72-year-old Trump had made his request on behalf of the Las Vegas-based casino operator during a meeting held at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in February of 2017. The newly-elected President allegedly surprised attendees by raising the casino issue with one American staff member declaring that the topic had been ‘totally brought up out of the blue.’
The unnamed staffer told ProPublica that the Japanese delegation had been ‘a little incredulous that [Trump] would be so brazen’ before stating that Abe ‘didn’t really respond and said thank you for the information.’
Official denies any impropriety:
However, Casino News Daily reported earlier today that Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary for the Japanese government, responded to the allegation by stating that Abe had already answered this claim and would be making no further comment. The online news domain declared that the official’s assertion referred to an official July statement from the Prime Minister where he had denied any such Trump lobbying had occurred.
Race for a Japanese license:
Las Vegas Sands Corporation is just one of a number of foreign casino firms said to be vying for one of three operating licenses that are due to be handed out as a result of July’s passage of the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill. The operator is hoping to be given permission to spend upwards of $10 billion in order to bring an integrated casino resort to a 173-acre portion of Yumeshima Island near Osaka by 2025 while ProPublica reported that Adelson recently told investors to expect good news.
Adelson reportedly told investors…
“The estimates by people who know, say they know, whom we believe they know, say that we’re in the number-one pole position.”
Major Republican donor:
ProPublica explained that 85-year-old Adelson is the planet’s 21st richest individual with an estimated personal fortune of around $35 billion and has been a major donor to Republican candidates and causes for decades. It stated that he contributed approximately $20 million towards helping Trump to get elected as the 45th President of the United States before stumping up a further $5 million for inauguration festivities.
Operator refutes accusation:
Although the White House and the Japanese embassy in Washington, DC, have reportedly yet to comment on the ProPublica accusation, Las Vegas Sands Corporation spokesperson Ron Reese did issue a statement denying any impropriety.
Reese’s statement reportedly read…
“The gaming industry has long sought the opportunity to enter the Japan market. Gaming companies have spent significant resources there on that effort and Las Vegas Sands [Corporation] is no exception. If our company has any advantage it would be because of our significant Asian operating experience and our unique convention-based business model. Any suggestion we are favored for some other reason is not based on the reality of the process in Japan or the integrity of the officials involved in it.”