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Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson. AFP PHOTO / AARON TAM

Reuters | Posted: 08/04/2012  1:25 pm Updated: 08/04/2012  2:55 pm

CHICAGO, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Las Vegas Sands Corp,  controlled by billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, is  the target of a federal investigation into possible violations  of U.S. money-laundering laws, the Wall Street Journal reported  on Saturday.

The Los Angeles U.S. attorney’s office is looking into the  casino company’s handling of the receipt of millions of dollars  from a Mexican businessman, later indicted in the United States  for drug trafficking, and a former California businessman, later  convicted of taking illegal kickbacks, the Journal said, citing  lawyers and others involved in the matter.

The transactions date from the mid-2000s.

The Journal said there are no indications that actions by  Adelson, who is the company’s chief executive officer and  largest shareholder, are being investigated.

The Los Angeles U.S. attorney could not be reached for  comment by Reuters on Saturday. A Sands spokesman was not  immediately available to comment to Reuters, but spokesman Ron  Reese told the Journal, “The company believes it has acted  properly and has not committed any wrongdoing.”

Reese said the company was cooperating with federal  investigators.

The timing of the investigation could open the Justice  Department to criticism that it is politically motivated, the  Journal said. Adelson is a major donor to the super PAC  supporting presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney  against President Barack Obama and plans to spend $100 million  on Republican candidates in November’s elections.

Adelson, who owns casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore,  began this campaign season as a major donor to Newt Gingrich  before Gingrich dropped out of the Republican presidential race.  He has since switched his support to Romney and last month was  in Jerusalem with the candidate when Romney met Israeli Prime  Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who Adelson also strongly supports.

The Journal said the Las Vegas money-laundering  investigation focused on two “whales” – as big-money gamblers  are known – and whether Sands officials ignored warning signs  and did not alert federal authorities about millions of dollars  the gamblers had deposited.

The Journal identified one of the “whales” as Zhenli Ye Gon,  a Chinese-born Mexican national who was indicted in 2007 in the  United States on charges of dealing in materials used to make  methamphetamine.

The drug case was dismissed in 2009 but Ye Gon is still in  U.S. custody awaiting extradition to Mexico, where authorities  want to try him on drug trafficking and money laundering  charges, the Journal said, citing court records.

The Journal said Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, a former executive  with the Fry’s Electronics retail chain, also was under  scrutiny. Court filings in another case showed Siddiqui sent  more than $100 million to the Sands. Siddiqui was charged with  taking kickbacks from Fry’s vendors, pleaded guilty and is now  in prison.

U.S. authorities also are investigating the Sands to see if  there were breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA),  which prohibits bribes to foreign officials by U.S. companies,  in its Macau operation.

HERE

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By STEPHEN BRAUN and JACK GILLUM Associated Press

Jul 25, 8:19 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he had no active role in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, after he exited in February 1999 to take over Salt Lake City’s Winter Olympics bid. But according to Bain associates and others familiar with Romney’s actions at the time, he stayed in regular contact with his partners over the following months, tending to his partnership interests and negotiating his separation from the company.

Those familiar with Romney’s discussions with his Bain partners said the contacts included several meetings in Boston, the company’s home base, but were limited to matters that did not affect the firm’s investments or other management decisions. Yet Romney continued to oversee his partnership stakes even as he disengaged from the firm, personally signing or approving a series of corporate and legal documents through the spring of 2001, according to financial reports reviewed by The Associated Press.

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Mitt Romney’s firm raised more than a third of its first investment fund from wealthy foreigners — who mostly used companies in Panama, then known for tax advantages and banking secrecy.

Los Angeles Times

By Joseph Tanfani, Melanie Mason and Matea Gold

July 19, 2012, 3:00 a.m.

Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — When Mitt Romney launched Bain Capital in 1984, he struggled at first to raise enough money for the untested venture. Old-money families like the Rothschilds turned down the young Boston consultant.

So he and his partners tapped an eclectic roster of investors, raising more than
a third of their first $37-million investment fund from wealthy foreigners.

Most of the foreign investors’ money came through corporations registered in Panama, then known for tax advantages and unusual banking secrecy.

Previously unreported details, documented in Massachusetts corporate filings and other public records, show that Bain Capital was enmeshed in the largely opaque world of international high finance from its very inception.

The documents don’t indicate any wrongdoing, and experts say that such financial vehicles are common for wealthy foreign investors. But the new details come as President Obama has criticized Romney for profiting from Bain Capital’s own offshore investment entities, which are unavailable to most Americans.

The Romney campaign declined to comment on the specifics of Bain’s early investors. Romney has argued that his offshore investments are entirely proper, and that he has paid all the U.S. taxes that he owes. The offshore funds do provide tax advantages for foreign investors, allowing Bain to attract billions of dollars.

“The world of finance is not as simple as some would have you believe,” Romney said in an interview this week with National Review Online.

The first outside investor in Bain was a leading London financier, Sir Jack Lyons, who made a $2.5-million investment through a Panama shell company set up by a Swiss money manager, further shielding his identity. Years later, Lyons was convicted in an unrelated stock fraud
scandal.

About $9 million came from rich Latin Americans, including powerful Salvadoran families living in Miami during their country’s brutal civil war.

That first investment fund — used to invest in start-up companies and leveraged buyouts — paid out a stunning 173% in average annual returns over a decade, according to a prospectus prepared by an outside bank. It was the start of the private equity powerhouse that ultimately fueled Romney’s political career. He now cites his experience at Bain as a chief qualification for the White House.

Romney faced unusual complications when he launched Bain Capital, a spinoff of Bain & Co., the Boston consulting firm he joined when he graduated from Harvard Business School.

At the time, U.S. officials were publicly accusing some exiles in Miami of funding right-wing death squads in El Salvador. Some family members of the first Bain Capital investors were later linked to groups responsible for killings, though no evidence indicates those relatives invested
in Bain or benefited from it.

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Published on Jul 19, 2012 by    

It starts with you: http://OFA.BO/xJQfHT

First Lady Michelle Obama announces the launch of “It Takes One”. “It Takes One” is a new effort that asks you to inspire one more person to join you every time you take an action to move this country forward. If you’re making phone calls or knocking on doors, take a friend along. If you’re registering to vote, make sure that a family member is registered as well. If you’re attending an event, bring one neighbor along. And if you’re voting early on election day, bring one new voter with you. You could inspire five, or ten, or 100 new people before November.
As the First Lady shares:
“That one new voter you register in your precinct. That one neighbor you help get to the polls on November 6th. That could make all the difference. That one conversation you have. That one volunteer you recruit. That could be the difference between waking up on November 7th and feeling the promise of four more years or asking yourself, ‘could I have done more?’”
“As Barack has said all along, ‘It takes one voice to change a room. And one room to change a community. And one community to change the direction of our nation’. It takes one and it starts with you.”

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Nine SEC filings submitted by four different business entities after February 1999 describe Romney as Bain boss.

Firm’s 2002 filings identify him as CEO, though he said he left in 1999

By Callum Borchers and Christopher Rowland |  Globe Correspondent | Globe Staff July 12, 2012

Government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time.

Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.”

Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.

The timing of Romney’s departure from Bain is a key point of contention because he has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date.

Contradictions concerning the length of Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital add to the uncertainty and questions about his finances. Bain is the primary source of Romney’s wealth, which is estimated to be more than $25o million. But how his wealth has been invested, especially in a variety of Bain partnerships and other investment vehicles, remains difficult to decipher because of a lack of transparency.

The Obama campaign and other Democrats have raised questions about his unwillingness to release tax returns filed before 2010; his offshore assets, which include investment entities based in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and a recently closed bank account in Switzerland; and a set of “blind trusts” that meet the Massachusetts standards for public officials but not the more rigorous bar set by the federal government.

Romney did not finalize a severance agreement with Bain until 2002, a 10-year deal with undisclosed terms that was retroactive to 1999. It expired in 2009.

Bain Capital and the campaign for the presumptive GOP nominee have suggested the SEC filings that show Romney as the man in charge during those additional three years have little meaning, and are the result of legal technicalities. The campaign declined to comment on the record. It pointed to a footnote in Romney’s most recent financial disclosure form, filed June 1 as a presidential candidate.

“Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way,’’ according to the footnote. Romney made the same assertion on a financial disclosure form in 2007, during his first run for president.

According to a statement issued by Bain Wednesday, “Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital in February 1999. He has had no involvement in the management or investment activities of Bain Capital, or with any of its portfolio companies, since that time.”

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Published on Jul  8, 2012 by    
Ben Labolt, National Press Secretary, has some questions concerning Mitt Romney’s offshore bank accounts and tax returns.

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The Boston headquarters of Bain Capital, a firm that usually found a way to make money from companies it controlled even when they ultimately went bankrupt.

New York Times
By and
Published: June 22, 2012

Cambridge Industries, an automotive plastics supplier whose losses had been building for three consecutive years, finally filed for bankruptcy in May 2000 under a mountain of debt that had ballooned to more than $300 million.

Yet Bain Capital, the private equity firm that controlled the Michigan-based company, continued to religiously collect its $950,000-a-year “advisory fee” in quarterly installments, even to the very end, according to court documents.

In all, Bain garnered more than $10 million in fees from Cambridge over five years, including a $2.25 million payment just for buying the company, according to bankruptcy records and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Meanwhile, Bain’s investors saw their $16 million investment in Cambridge wiped out.

That Bain was able to reap revenue from Cambridge, even as it foundered, was hardly unusual.

The private equity firm, co-founded and run by Mitt Romney, held a majority stake in more than 40 United States-based companies from its inception in 1984 to early 1999, when Mr. Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. Of those companies, at least seven eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward, according to a review by The New York Times. In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money.

Mr. Romney’s experience at Bain is at the heart of his case for the presidency. He has repeatedly promoted his years working in the “real economy,” arguing that his success turning around troubled companies and helping to start new ones, producing jobs in the process, has prepared him to revive the country’s economy. He has fended off attacks about job losses at companies Bain owned, saying, “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful.” But an examination of what happened when companies Bain controlled wound up in bankruptcy highlights just how different Bain and other private equity firms are from typical denizens of the real economy, from mom-and-pop stores to bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures.

Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.
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Washington Post

By Tom Hamburger, Thursday, June 21, 7:53 PM

Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.

During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While economists debate whether the massive outsourcing of American jobs over the last generation was inevitable, Romney in recent months has lamented the toll it’s taken on the U.S. economy. He has repeatedly pledged he would protect American employment by getting tough on China.

“They’ve been able to put American businesses out of business and kill American jobs,” he told workers at a Toledo fence factory in February. “If I’m president of the United States, that’s going to end.”

Speaking at a metalworking factory in Cincinnati last week, Romney cited his experience as a businessman, saying he knows what it would take to bring employers back to the United States. “For me it’s all about good jobs for the American people and a bright and prosperous future,” he said.

For years, Romney’s political opponents have tried to tie him to the practice of outsourcing American jobs. These political attacks have often focused on Bain’s involvement in specific business deals that resulted in job losses.

But a Washington Post examination of securities filings shows the extent of Bain’s investment in firms that specialized in helping other companies move or expand operations overseas. While Bain was not the largest player in the outsourcing field, the private equity firm was involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to this outflow of employment.

Bain played several roles in helping these outsourcing companies, such as investing venture capital so they could grow and providing management and strategic business advice as they navigated this rapidly developing field.

Over the past two decades, American companies have dramatically expanded their overseas operations and supply networks, especially in Asia, while shrinking their workforces at home. McKinsey Global Institute estimated in 2006 that $18.4 billion in global information technology work and $11.4 billion in business-process services have been moved abroad.

While the export of jobs has been disruptive for many workers and communities in the United States, outsourcing has been a powerful economic force. It has often helped lower the prices that American consumers pay for products and created a global supply chain that has made U.S. companies more nimble and profitable.

Romney campaign officials repeatedly declined requests to comment on Bain’s record of investing in outsourcing firms during the Romney era. Campaign officials have said it is unfair to criticize Romney for investments made by Bain after he left the firm but did not address those made on his watch. In response to detailed questions about outsourcing investments, Bain spokesman Alex Stanton said, “Bain Capital’s business model has always been to build great companies and improve their operations. We have helped the 350 companies in which we have invested, which include over 100 start-up businesses, produce $80 billion of revenue growth in the United States while growing their revenues well over twice as fast as both the S&P and the U.S. economy over the last 28 years.”

Until Romney left Bain Capital in 1999, he ran it with a proprietor’s zeal and attention to detail, earning a reputation for smart, hands-on management.

Bain’s foray into outsourcing began in 1993 when the private equity firm took a stake in Corporate Software Inc., or CSI, after helping to finance a $93 million buyout of the firm. CSI, which catered to technology companies like Microsoft, provided a range of services including outsourcing of customer support. Initially, CSI employed U.S. workers to provide these services but by the mid-1990s was setting up call centers outside the country.

Two years after Bain invested in the firm, CSI merged with another enterprise to form a new company called Stream International Inc. Stream immediately became active in the growing field of overseas calls centers. Bain was initially a minority shareholder in Stream and was active in running the company, providing “general executive and management services,” according to SEC filings.

By 1997, Stream was running three tech-support call centers in Europe and was part of a call center joint venture in Japan, an SEC filing shows. “The Company believes that the trend toward outsourcing technical support occurring in the U.S. is also occurring in international markets,” the SEC filing said.

Stream continued to expand its overseas call centers. And Bain’s role also grew with time. It ultimately became the majority shareholder in Stream in 1999 several months after Romney left Bain to run the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Bain sold its stake in Stream in 2001, after the company further expanded its call center operations across Europe and Asia.

The corporate merger that created Stream also gave birth to another, related business known as Modus Media Inc., which specialized in helping companies outsource their manufacturing. Modus Media was a subsidiary of Stream that became an independent company in early 1998. Bain was the largest shareholder, SEC filings show.

Modus Media grew rapidly. In December 1997, it announced it had contracted with Microsoft to produce software and training products at a center in Australia. Modus Media said it was already serving Microsoft from Asian locations in Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan and in Europe and the United States.

Two years later, Modus Media told the SEC it was performing outsource packaging and hardware assembly for IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Computer Corp. The filing disclosed that Modus had operations on four continents, including Asian facilities in Singapore, Taiwan, China and South Korea, and European facilities in Ireland and France, and a center in Australia.

“Technology companies, in particular, have increasingly sought to outsource the business processes involved in their supply chains,” the filing said. “. . . We offer a range of services that provide our clients with a one-stop shop for their outsource requirements.”

According to a news release issued by Modus Media in 1997, its expansion of outsourcing services took place in close consultation with Bain. Terry Leahy, Modus’s chairman and chief executive, was quoted in the release as saying he would be “working closely with Bain on strategic expansion.” At the time, three Bain directors sat on the corporate board of Modus.

The global expansion that began while Romney was at Bain continued after he left. In 2000, the firm announced it was opening a new facility in Guadalajara, Mexico, and expanding in China, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.

In addition to taking an interest in companies that specialized in outsourcing services, Bain also invested in firms that moved or expanded their own operations outside of the United States.

One of those was a California bicycle manufacturer called GT Bicycle Inc. that Bain bought in 1993. The growing company relied on Asian labor, according to SEC filings. Two years later, with the company continuing to expand, Bain helped take it public. In 1998, when Bain owned 22 percent of GT’s stock and had three members on the board, the bicycle maker was sold to Schwinn, which had also moved much of its manufacturing offshore as part of a wider trend in the bicycle industry of turning to Chinese labor.

Another Bain investment was electronics manufacturer SMTC Corp. In June 1998, during Romney’s last year at Bain, his private equity firm acquired a Colorado manufacturer that specialized in the assembly of printed circuit boards. That was one of several preliminary steps in 1998 that would culminate in a corporate merger a year later, five months after Romney left Bain. In July 1999, the Colorado firm acquired SMTC Corp., SEC filings show. Bain became the largest shareholder of SMTC and held three seats on its corporate board. Within a year of Bain taking over, SMTC told the SEC it was expanding production in Ireland and Mexico.

In its prospectus that year, SMTC explained that it was in a strong position to meet the swelling demand from other manufacturers for overseas production of circuit boards. The company said that communications and networking companies “are dramatically increasing the amount of manufacturing they are outsourcing and we believe our technological capabilities and global manufacturing platform are well suited to capitalize on this opportunity.”

Just as Romney was ending his tenure at Bain, it reached the culmination of negotiations with Hyundai Electronics Industry of South Korea for the $550 million purchase of its U.S. subsidiary, Chippac, which manufactured, tested and packaged computer chips in Asia. The deal was announced a month after Romney left Bain. Reports filed with the SEC in late 1999 showed that Chippac had plants in South Korea and China and was responsible for marketing and supplying the company’s Asian-made computer chips. An overwhelming majority of Chippac’s customers were U.S. firms, including Intel, IBM and Lucent Technologies.

A filing with the SEC revealed the promise that Chippac offered investors. “Historically, semiconductor companies primarily manufactured semiconductors in their own facilities,” the filing said. “Today, most major semiconductor manufacturers use independent packaging and test service providers for at least a portion of their . . . needs. We expect this outsourcing trend to continue.”

Research editor Alice Crites contributed to this article.

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Bloomberg

By Michael C. Bender -  Jun 21, 2012 1:46 PM MT

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state’s jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

What’s unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama’s stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.

Scott should follow the advice of the Romney campaign and it won’t undermine his own message, said Mac Stipanovich, a political strategist and lobbyist in Florida.

“This is one of those situations where you could have it both ways and there’s enough truth in it that it would resonate,” Stipanovich said. “It would be better if everybody was singing from the same hymnal.”

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Uploaded by      on Jun 14, 2012

Are you in? https://my.barackobama.com/twochoicesvid
President Obama was in Ohio today to deliver the first in a series of speeches that lay out the clear choice in this election between a vision that moves us forward and creates an economy built to last, and one that would send us backward to the failed policies of the past decade.

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