Of Political Influence, Casinos And Olympic Games

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Testimony during a lawsuit over the the proceeds of a lucrative Macau casino deal have shed some light on the strange connections between casinos, the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games and the Washington political machine.

In the lawsuit, Hong Kong entrepreneur Richard Suen Chi-tat contended that he had facilitated a deal between billionaire Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp, and the Chinese government, to develop a casino property on the island of Macau, but claims that he was never fully compensated for his roll.

A Las Vegas jury agreed with Suen, and in May, he was awarded $43.8 million for what the jury concluded was the value of his role in the deal.

So far, the Sands has opened two casino properties in Macau: the Sands Macao, opened in 2004, and the Venetian Macao, opened in 2007, which together, have generated more nearly $4 billion in revenue. The Sands also has plans underway to drop another $12 billion on six additional Macau resort properties.

Among the tidbits revealed by the trial were Adelson's involvement with the Chinese bid to bring the Olympics to Beijing in 2008. According to the Standard, testimony revealed that during negotiations for the Casino properties, the Chinese approached Adelson for assistance with the Olympics. Adelson was a major financial supporter of the republican party, and according to public records, donated more than $600,000 to them over a 12 year period from various corporate entities. This largess enabled him to call then Speaker of the House Tom "The Velvet Hammer" DeLay at a 4th of July picnic in order to voice his concern over a pending resolution in the House urging US Olympic officials to vote the Chinese bid down.

Within 3 hours, DeLay was reportedly able to assure Adelson that due to a "logjam" the resolution would never see the light of day.

While there was no evidence introduced at the trial that would indicate that DeLay violated the law by specifically moving the resolution off of the congressional agenda at Adelson's request, it was moved and it appears that Adelson was happy to let it appear as if his influence had been the key. The trial testimony indicates that it appears to have done the trick and according to The Standard, Macau officials subsequently bent over backwards to help support the Sands Macau casino bid.

While Suen's case has been resolved, there are at least three additional suits still pending in which middle men who claim involvement in the deal are looking for a taste. All three have separate trials scheduled in Las Vegas for December, the Standard reported. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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