by Matt Isaacs, Lowell Bergman and Stephen Engelberg, Pro Publica:
A few days after Las Vegas Sands fired the president of its Macau casinos in July 2010, the company copied the hard drives of his office computers and moved the data to its headquarters in Las Vegas. In the months that followed, the company now acknowledges, its lawyers reviewed those records as they prepared to defend the casino giant against a civil suit by the executive for wrongful termination.
But when the executive, Steven Jacobs, asked in court for copies of his documents, a lawyer for the Las Vegas Sands subsidiary in Macau said it could not move files out of the Chinese enclave without permission from local authorities. The lawyer did not mention that copies of the documents were already in the United States.
Federal investigators examining Jacobs’ claims that he had been ordered to overlook illegal activity in Macau faced the same roadblock, the lawyer told a Nevada judge.