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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 Paul Thomasch and Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) – Les Hinton, the top executive of Rupert Murdoch’s Dow Jones & Co, resigned on Friday after becoming a target of criticism for the phone-hacking scandal that occurred when he oversaw News Corp’s British newspapers.

Hinton stepped down as the British phone hacking scandal surrounding News Corp began to spread to the United States. He is the highest ranking executive yet to resign over a crisis that closed down the News of the World tabloid and scotched News Corp’s $12 billion attempt to buy out BSkyB.

I have watched with sorrow from New York as the News of the World story has unfolded,” Hinton wrote in a memo to staff after resigning as chief executive of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

“That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is irrelevant and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp, and apologize to those hurt by the actions of the News of the World,” he added.

At the Wall Street Journal, news of Hinton’s departure was greeted by gasps and a stunned silence, despite much speculation in both London and New York that he could be toppled by transgressions that occurred on his watch.

Hinton’s resignation came on the same day that another top Murdoch confidante, Rebekah Brooks, stepped down as chief of News International, which is responsible for all Murdoch’s British papers. Brooks worked under Hinton when she was News of the World’s editor and he ran News International.

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Politicians call for felony charges if report that News of the World hacked voicemails of victims is found to be true

Chris McGreal in Washington
The Guardian, Thursday 14 July 2011

Senator Jay Rockefeller called for an investigation into whether News Corp had invaded the privacy of Americans. Photograph: Matthew Cavanaugh/EPA

Political pressure on Rupert Murdoch has spilled across the Atlantic with a growing number of senior politicians calling for a legal investigation into whether News Corporation broke American laws over the phone-hacking scandal.

Members of Congress from both major parties have waded in to the affair with warnings of “severe” consequences if a report in the Daily Mirror that the News of the World attempted to access the voicemails of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks or other Americans is true.

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Stephen Lendman, Baltimore Chronicle, Noveber 9, 2009

Today’s major media journalism is biased, irresponsible, sensationalist reporting that distorts, exaggerates or misstates the truth. It’s misinformation or agitprop disinformation masquerading as fact to boost circulation, readership, viewers, or listeners, and on vital issues lie about or suppress uncomfortable truths to provide unqualified support for state and/or corporate interests – to the detriment of the greater good that’s always sacrificed for profits and imperial aims.

As a result, major media sources produce a daily propaganda diet and what Project Censored calls “junk food news,” and get most people to believe it. In their landmark book, Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky explained the “propaganda model” that controls the public message by “filter(ing)” disturbing truths, “leaving (behind) only the cleansed residue fit to print” or air.

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