Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Justice Department’

The New York Times
By , NEIL GOUGH and
Published: August 13, 2012

When Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, needed something done in China, he often turned to his company’s “chief Beijing representative,” a mysterious businessman named Yang Saixin.

Mr. Yang arranged meetings for Mr. Adelson with senior Chinese officials; acted as a frontman on several ambitious projects for Mr. Adelson’s company, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation; and intervened on the Sands’s behalf with Chinese regulators. Mr. Yang even had his daughter take Mr. Adelson’s wife, Miriam, shopping when she was in Beijing.

“Adelson and I had a good relationship,” Mr. Yang said in a recent interview in Hong Kong. “He should thank me.”

Mr. Yang 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, Mr. 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 today, Mr. 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.

The investigations are unfolding as Mr. Adelson has become an increasing presence in this year’s presidential election, contributing at least $35 million to Republican groups. On Tuesday, Mitt Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, is to appear at a fund-raiser at the Sands’s Venetian casino in Las Vegas; Mr. Adelson is likely to attend, a person close to him said.

In the political arena, Mr. Adelson is perhaps best known as a hawkish defender of Israel. But whatever the outcome of the inquiries involving his businesses in China, an examination of those activities suggests a keen interest in Washington’s China policy and highlights the degree to which politics and profits are often intertwined for Mr. Adelson.

The Sands has faced a conundrum in China as a casino company whose fortunes are heavily dependent on its operations in a country where gambling is illegal, except in Macau. The company relies on the good will of Chinese officials, who mete out approvals and have the power to curtail the flow of mainland visitors. As a result, Mr. Adelson has sought to use financial clout and connections to exert political influence at the highest levels of government.

On the front lines of those efforts was Mr. Yang, who was paid $30,000 a month by the company before he was fired in 2009, he said. At times, he acted as Mr. Adelson’s personal guide to the Chinese establishment. Among the dignitaries he took Mr. Adelson to see was Wan Jifei, a leading international trade official whose father had been vice premier. That led to a lunch with other trade officials at the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square.

The Sands later hired Mr. Wan’s daughter, Bao Bao, a socialite and jewelry designer, to do public relations. And the trade agency Mr. Wan ran became a partner in the Sands’s biggest venture, the Adelson Center for U.S.-China Enterprise.

Mr. 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.”

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 Mr. 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.

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »

TPM Muckraker
Ryan J. Reilly February  2, 2012,  5:24 PM

The Justice Department has written a very pointed letter to a lawyer for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, telling him that they’ll sue Maricopa County Sheriffs Office very soon unless they go forward with negotiations to settle issues regarding the office’s alleged pattern of civil rights abuses.

DOJ and MCSO officials are supposed to meet on Feb. 6, but Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin wrote in a letter to Arpaio’s lawyer on Thursday that if the purpose of the meeting “is solely for you to tell us in person that you do not agree with our findings, there is no reason for us to meet.”

An extensive investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division found that Arpaio had “promoted a culture of bias” within MCSO. Arpaio’s team has been disputing their findings and Arpaio has said the probe is all just part of the Obama administration’s re-election bid even though the investigation began during the Bush administration.

DOJ’s letter said they were not willing to debate their findings with Apraio’s office.

“Your letter suggests an unwillingness to resolve this matter though a negotiated settlement — a position which makes litigation inevitable in the very near term,” Austin wrote. DOJ’s letter was in response to a letter Arpaio’s lawyer sent Wednesday which again disputed the conclusions of DOJ’s investigation.

SOURCE

Read Full Post »

Holder On KSM Trial: ‘I Know This Case In A Way That Members Of Congress Do Not’

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | April 4, 2011, 4:15PM

Despite his announcement today [yesterday] that the trials of five alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators will be held in a military court, Attorney General Eric Holder is standing by his original decision to hold civilian trials for five alleged Sept. 11 conspirators in federal court and blames Congress for forcing his hand in sending them to the military system.

In a short 13-minute news conference at Justice Department headquarters on Monday, Holder came out forcefully in defense of his original decision in November 2009 to prosecute the alleged terrorists in federal court and said that he had “reluctantly” made the reversal of his original decision due to the “needless controversy” over the KSM trial and restrictions that Congress had placed on the executive branch.

Holder chastised members of Congress for setting up “unwise and unwarranted restrictions” on transferring Guantanamo detainees which could “undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security.”

He said the trial decision had been “marked by needless controversy since the beginning” and that the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators “should never have been about settling ideological arguments or scoring political points.”

“Had this case proceeded in Manhattan or in an alternative venue in the United States, as I seriously explored in the past year, I am confident that our justice system would have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over two hundred years,” Holder said in his prepared remarks.

But in light of the restrictions imposed by Congress on transferring detainees to the U.S., Holder said the Justice Department had to “face a simple truth: those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future. And we simply cannot allow a trial to be delayed any longer for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or for their family members who have waited for nearly a decade for justice.”

Asked by CNN’s Terry Frieden whether it was Holder’s belief that he “knows best and that there is just no room for the public’s view” on where a trial should be held, Holder said that he didn’t want to hold himself out as “omniscient” but said the “reality is though I know this case in a way that members of Congress do not.”

“I have looked at the files. I have spoken to the prosecutors. I know the tactical concerns that have to go into this decision,” said Holder.

“So do I know better than them? Yes. I respect their ability to disagree, but I think they should respect the fact this is an executive branch function, a unique executive branch function,” Holder said.

Despite the reversal, Holder said that the administration would continue to fight to get the restrictions on transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees lifted.

“It is still our intention to close Guantanamo. It’s still our intention to lift those restrictions,” Holder told reporters.

The Justice Department also released the December 2009 indictment against KSM and his four co-conspirators, which had been under seal until it was withdrawn this week.

Nolle and Unsealing Order – 4-4-11

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »

Brady Campaign: DOJ Meeting Shows Obama Is ‘Serious’ About Combatting Gun Violence

TPMMuckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | March 16, 2011, 3:20PM

A coalition of pro gun-control groups met with Obama administration officials at the Justice Department Tuesday to discuss ways to prevent gun violence.

The meeting at DOJ headquarters, the first in a series of meetings the administration is trying to schedule to address the issue, was led by Christopher H. Schroeder, Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy. Representatives of the White House, the Vice President’s office, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were also in attendance.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign on Gun Violence, told TPM that the government representatives didn’t tip their cap for what direction they planned on taking to combat gun violence.

“We asked a lot of questions, and they indicated they don’t have any particular policies that they’re pushing or any particular legislation that they’re pushing, right now they’re basically out gathering pieces of information,” Helmke said.

The White House had invited the National Rifle Association (NRA) to the meeting, but NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told the New York Times that he didn’t see a reason to “go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States.”

In a letter to President Barack Obama, LaPierre and NRA Executive Director Chris Cox wrote that for Obama “to focus a national dialogue on guns – and not criminals or mental health issues – misses the point entirely”. The said gun laws aren’t the problem.

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Justice Department Sues Sheriff Joe For Not Cooperating With Investigation

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | September 2, 2010, 12:33PM

The Justice Department on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona for refusing to fully cooperate with the department’s investigation of alleged national origin discrimination in the course of immigration enforcement.

DOJ has been looking into whether Arpaio is in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act since March 2009. The controversial Arpaio passed a deadline last month to provide DOJ with the documents they requested, and his lawyer met with DOJ last week.

The Justice Department said at the time it was “hopeful” that Arpaio would cooperate following the meeting, but in a statement said on Thursday that it had “[exhausted] all cooperative measures” to gain access to the requested documents and facilities.

DOJ is unaware of any other police department of sheriff’s office that has refused to cooperate with an investigation in the past 30 years, making Maricopa County “an extreme outlier,” said the department.

“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented. It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

Arpaio’s lawyer Robert Driscoll, when reached by TPM, said he was still reviewing the filing and had no comment.

DOJ’s lawsuit is embedded below.

DOJ Complaint Against Arpaio

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »

DOJ, Arizona officials meet over immigration law

Huff Post- PAUL DAVENPORT and PETE YOST | May 29, 2010 02:08 AM EST | AP

PHOENIX — Justice Department officials told Arizona’s attorney general and aides to the governor Friday that the federal government has serious reservations about the state’s new immigration law. They responded that a lawsuit against the state isn’t the answer.

“I told them we need solutions from Washington, not more lawsuits,” said Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat.

The Justice Department initiated separate meetings by phone and face-to-face in Phoenix with Goddard and aides to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to reach out to Arizona’s leaders and elicit information from state officials regarding the Obama administration’s concerns about the new law.

The strong message that the Justice Department representatives delivered at the private meetings – first with Goddard, then with Brewer’s staff – left little doubt that the Obama administration is prepared to go to court if necessary in a bid to block the new law, which takes effect July 29.

Goddard said he noted that five privately filed lawsuits already are pending in federal court to challenge the law.

“Every possible argument is being briefed,” said Goddard, who is running unopposed for his party’s nomination for the governor’s race.

Brewer, who is seeking re-election, later said in a statement that her legal team told the Justice Department officials that the law would be “vigorously defended all the way to the United States Supreme Court if necessary.”

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig

Report: Criminal Charges Likely Over Oil Spill

TPM MUCKRAKER

Justin Elliott | May 13, 2010, 8:59AM

Environmental law experts tell McClatchy it’s likely the Justice Department will ultimately bring criminal charges against the companies involved in the oil spill, potentially under the Clean Water and Air Acts.

McClatchy reports:

While Attorney General Eric Holder has confirmed that Justice Department lawyers are helping the agencies involved in the oil spill inquiry with legal questions, department officials have refused to detail what their role entails.But [Former DOJ environmental crimes section chief David] Uhlmann and other experts said it’s likely prosecutors are already poring over evidence from the spill because under the Clean Water and Air Acts and other federal laws aimed at protecting migratory birds, an accidental oil spill of this magnitude could at least result in misdemeanor negligence charges.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: