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A bitter, long-running lawsuit that pitted Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. against its former top employee in Macau has ended with the casino company settling the case for more than $75 million.
Former executive Steve Jacobs, who once headed Sands’ operations in Macau, had sued the Las Vegas company in 2010 for wrongful termination. He alleged he was fired after balking at orders to conduct illegal investigations of officials in the Chinese gambling enclave.
The case, which had been set for trial in Las Vegas later this year, was settled this week. Terms of the settlement were confidential, but the Wall Street Journal said Las Vegas Sands agreed to pay more than $75 million for Jacobs to drop his suit.
Kate O'Keeffe and Alexandra Berzon both with the Wall Street Journal wrote about the settlement for the paper.
Neither O'Keefe nor Berzon could say exactly why the settlement happened at this moment.
“Circumstances have changed that led to this settlement but we just don’t specifically which circumstances," O'Keeffe said.
The company is dealing with a lot, including a new casino opening in Macau in September. Berzon also said there has been pressure for a long time to settle.
“A lot of people wanted this case to settle for a long time," she said, "Sheldon Adelson had always been very firm that he would not settle and he typically doesn’t settle any lawsuits."
She said the lawsuit had led to federal investigations by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The status of the Justice Department investigation is unknown at this point, according to O'Keeffe, but the SEC investigation led to a $9 million settlement.
The money paid out in this settlement with Jacobs was a "huge, huge number," said Berzon. She said an attorney she talked with, who dealt with these kinds of cases, said most of these kinds of cases settled for a few million dollars.
Despite the big payout, O'Keeffe said the company won't take a hit financially, it is just the "general collateral damage" from the lawsuit and allegations that came out of it that will be felt.
Kate O’Keeffe, Justice Department reporter for the Wall Street Journal; Alexandra Berzon, covers gaming for the paper