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News agency, group ask judge in Las Vegas Sands case to release private investigator's report

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LAS VEGAS — A news organization and nonprofit group want a Nevada judge to unseal a private investigator's report that they say may tie casino company Las Vegas Sands Corp. to organized crime in Asia.

Guardian News & Media and the Campaign for Accountability recently filed motions to unseal the report, which was filed as evidence in a former executive's wrongful termination lawsuit against the company.

Both the international news agency and the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, which focuses on corporate disclosure policies and Wall Street's influence on regulators, say the so-called Vickers report is of public interest.

The Campaign for Accountability says in its motion filed Monday that it also wants to see the report because the group believes it might help determine if Republican donor and Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson used money linked to overseas criminal activity for election donations.

The nonprofit's director, Anne Weismann, said the group's suspicions are "based on what we know about what the report was supposed to accomplish." She said the report's author, private investigator Steve Vickers, specialized in looking into organized crime activity by Chinese triads.

"Mr. Adelson's alleged close ties to illegal and corrupt foreign practices raise very serious and credible questions, not only about possible corruption in the Nevada gaming industry, but also about whether those practices have financed his campaign activities and whether he has used the anonymity of campaign contributions to launder illegally obtained foreign funds," according to the motion from the group filed by Las Vegas attorney Allen Lichtenstein.

PHOTO: FILE - In this May 4, 2015 file photo, Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson testifies in court in Las Vegas. A news organization and nonprofit group want a Nevada judge to unseal a private investigator's report that they say may tie casino company Las Vegas Sands Corp. to organized crime in Asia. The Campaign for Accountability says in its motion filed Monday, June 8, 2015, that it also wants to see the report because the group believes it might help determine if the Republican donor Adelson used money linked to overseas criminal activity for election donations. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
FILE - In this May 4, 2015 file photo, Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson testifies in court in Las Vegas. A news organization and nonprofit group want a Nevada judge to unseal a private investigator's report that they say may tie casino company Las Vegas Sands Corp. to organized crime in Asia. The Campaign for Accountability says in its motion filed Monday, June 8, 2015, that it also wants to see the report because the group believes it might help determine if the Republican donor Adelson used money linked to overseas criminal activity for election donations. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese declined to comment about the motions on behalf of the companies and Adelson.

A message left with an assistant for attorney Steve Morris, who represents Adelson, was not immediately returned Wednesday. A voice message and email seeking comment also were sent to attorney Stephen Peek, who represents Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez is expected to consider a date when the arguments will be heard.

The motions are to intervene in Steven Jacobs' lawsuit against Las Vegas Sands, Sands China Ltd., Adelson and others, which has been ongoing since 2010. Jacobs filed the case after he was fired from his position as chief executive officer of Sands China, a company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange with its operations based in the lucrative gambling enclave of Macau.

Gambling revenues there were on a steep trajectory for years until 2014, when a corruption crackdown in China effectively cut off VIP junkets that brought wealthy gamblers to the properties.

Jacobs has claimed he was fired for being a whistleblower by exposing wrongdoing within the company, including actions by Adelson. The company and Adelson have said Jacobs was fired for cause.

Gonzalez recently ruled that the case will be heard in her Clark County courtroom after a team of defense attorneys questioned the jurisdiction since Sands China is a foreign company.

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