In a recently released report by an investigative team at The Guardian, and originally commissioned by Sands China in 2010 as part if its internal corporate data collection, a private investigator stated that central Chinese government officials had become concerned about Macau infiltration by the CIA to “monitor mainland government officials who gambled in the casinos.”
The report was discovered by the University of California Berkeley campus Investigative Reporting Program among a collection of Sands documents that were recently filed in Las Vegas as part of the wrongful dismissal suit by Steven Jacobs, former President of Sands Macau.
The investigator does not claim that Sands was complicit with US intelligence activity, only that certain Chinese officials believed it to be so. The report provided no specific sources stating only that the information provided “is based on influential sources.” Subsequently, Sands officials have described the document as “a collection of meaningless speculation” – referring to vagueness of the sources.
Conspiratorial suspicions abounded during the early establishment of US casinos into China’s gambling haven. However, the report also provided insights into other Chinese concerns, primarily that an internal central Chinese government agency estimated that around $2 billion US was annually gambled away by Chinese government officials visiting Macao despite the fact that most officials did not earn the level of salaries that could justify that level of casino play.
Beijing has not allowed the US to open a consulate in Macau to dissuade American interference in local politics. However the report infers that the investigator was tasked with gathering information on Fernando Chui, Macau’s Chief Executive. Further, in his wrongful termination suit, Jacobs alleges that Sands Macau owner Sheldon Adelson demanded Jacobs use “improper leverage” against senior government officials in Macau to promote Adelson’s interests, specifically to obtain title to some apartments.
Despite Adelson’s alleged intent revealed in the report, the investigator states, “It is most unlikely that any form of scandal or allegation made against him (Chui) would stick.”