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Sands China Says Macau Government Probes Data Transfer

Sands China Says Macau Investigates Unit on U.S. Data Transfer
The Venetian Macau resort and casino sit on the Cotai Strip in Macau, China. Photographer: Daniel J. Groshong/Bloomberg

Sands China Ltd., the Asian unit of Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas company, said its Venetian Macau Ltd. subsidiary is being investigated by the Macau government in connection with the transfer of some data to the U.S.

The probe is related to the case of Steve Jacobs, the former Sands China chief executive officer who is suing the company, said company spokeswoman Melina Leong. The Macau government’s Office for Personal Data Protection notified the company of the probe, Sands China said in a statement to Hong Kong’s stock exchange today.

Jacobs has said that a large amount of evidence in his case has been transported from Macau to the U.S., according to a June filing in Nevada state court. Among the missing documents are e-mails outlining Sands’s strategy of allowing prostitutes in casinos and its hiring of a casino attorney who also represents the Macau government, according to the filings.

Sands China shares fell 0.9 percent to HK$22.75 at the mid-day trading break in Hong Kong, after earlier declining as much as 3.1 percent. The stock has lost 8.3 percent in the past year, compared with a 13 percent drop for the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Las Vegas Sands responded in a July 17 filing that Jacobs’s claims regarding it having a “prostitution strategy” were reckless, irrelevant and false.

The Office For Personal Data Protection confirmed via e-mail that it has started an investigation into whether the Venetian Macau breached local rules.

Companies need authorization from the agency under certain circumstances to transfer data, and failure to comply with some articles of the Personal Data Protection Act can result in a fine of 8,000 to 80,000 patacas, the agency said. Other violations of the law may also “constitute administrative offenses or crimes,” the government body said.

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