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Billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s row with his former head of China operations appears to have aroused the interest of U.S. regulators.

Shortly after Las Vegas Sands reported the earnings from its Macau unit had more than tripled to $666.5 million last year, a regulatory filing also revealed a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC and the Department of Justice are investigating the company’s compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits U.S. companies from bribing foreign officials.

Sands said the subpoena is likely to have emanated from allegations made by its former Sands China CEO, Steve Jacobs.

In July, Jacobs was fired by Sands for failing to keep the company’s board of directors informed of important decisions.

Jacobs filed a lawsuit in October claiming he was wrongfully terminated after refusing to carry out illegal demands by Adelson. Amongst a number of allegations, the suit states that Adelson ordered Jacobs to conduct secret investigations into the affairs of Macau’s government officials so the information could be used as leverage in future dealings.

Shares of Sands fell 6.3% in New York, while Sands China dropped almost 7% by mid-day in Hong Kong.

Adelson was ranked 73rd on the Forbes World’s Billionaires list in 2010, with a fortune valued at $9.3 billion. The next edition of the World’s Billionaire rankings will be featured in the March issue of Forbes.

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