International edition
September 25, 2021

Yang is focus of an investigation into potential bribery

Scrutiny for Adelson's frontman in China

(Macau).- The New York Times reported that Yang Saixin, Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson's principal Beijing representative, along with tens of millions of dollars in payments the Sands made through Yang in China, is a focus of a wide-ranging federal investigation into potential bribery of foreign officials and other matters in China and Macau.

Adelson and I had a good relationship,” Yang said in a recent interview in Hong Kong. “He should thank me.” He joined the Sands in 2007 as the company worked to protect its interests in Macau, where its gambling revenues were mushrooming, and pressed ahead with plans for a resort in mainland China.

Boasting of ties to the People’s Liberation Army and China’s security apparatus, Yang was hired for his guanxi, that mixture of relationships and favors that is critical to opening doors in China, according to former executives.

But Yang, along with tens of millions of dollars in payments the Sands made through him in China, is a focus of a wide-ranging federal investigation into potential bribery of foreign officials and other matters in China and Macau, according to people with direct knowledge of the inquiries. Yang said he was paid us$ 30,000 a month by the company before he was fired in 2009.

The broad outlines of the mainland China investigation were reported last week by The Wall Street Journal. But a review of more than a thousand pages of corporate records in China, as well as interviews with former Sands executives and others, provides a more detailed picture.

The documents show that the Sands paid out more than $70 million to companies tied to Yang for the trade center and for a Chinese basketball team the Sands sponsored. But several million dollars appear to be unaccounted for after the projects were suddenly shut down by the company, The New York Times found.

What became of any missing money and whether any of it wound up in the hands of Chinese officials are among the questions being examined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the New York Times report, the investigations are unfolding as Adelson has become an increasing presence in this year’s U.S. presidential election, contributing at least us$ 35 million to Republican groups.

Yang denies resorting to bribery and says he actually lost money on his dealings with the Sands. “I’m really being bullied because I helped Venetian and Adelson do so many things,” he said. “I’m in the middle, and on both sides everybody’s pointing at me.”

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