A Nevada judge has denied an attempt to unseal a private investigator’s report offered as evidence in a wrongful termination case brought by Steve Jacobs – a former chief executive of Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd – against the firm, its parent Las Vegas Sands Corp, and the companies’ chairman Sheldon Adelson (pictured).
The Associated Press said the ruling came after Guardian News and Media, publisher of the U.K. newspaper The Guardian; the Campaign for Accountability which describes itself as a watchdog on the business-funded lobbying industry in the U.S.; and the U.S. labour union Unite Here, argued that the public should see the exhibit, on the basis that it might tie the gaming companies to organised crime in Asia.
The Campaign for Accountability argued that the investigative report might shed light on whether gambling money linked to alleged Macau organised crime could have contributed to the profits of Las Vegas Sands – and ultimately landed in the coffers of U.S. political candidates supported by Mr Adelson.
“There‘s a lot of rhetoric in this case. There‘s clearly a political agenda here that has no place in whether or not these” documents should be unsealed, said Randall Jones, an attorney representing Sands China, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report of Thursday’s hearing.
The report exhibit is part of an ongoing wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Mr Jacobs shortly after he was dismissed in July 2010 for what his employer said was “cause”.
Mr Adelson testified in April that he had “at least 34 good reasons” for sacking Mr Jacobs. But Mr Jacobs claimed he was terminated “for blowing the whistle on improprieties and placing the interests of shareholders above those of Adelson.”
Mr Jacobs’ attorney Todd Bice had supported efforts to unseal the report, stated the Associated Press.
Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez dismissed the motions without prejudice, saying the law allows her to seal documents that include commercially sensitive material and gambling regulatory information.
A trial of the wrongful termination case had been scheduled for October but could be delayed until the end of next year based on the estimated time of discovery procedures, reported the Associated Press.
The same judge ruled in May that the Nevada court has jurisdiction in relation to Sands China’s involvement in the case.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China