Skip To Content
Breaking News

Jailed Chinese Mogul Tied to Sheldon Adelson Faces More Legal Woes

A billionaire Macau developer arrested for lying to U.S. customs officials about why he brought $4.5 million in cash into the United States was subpoenaed in 2014 as part of a separate foreign bribery investigation, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Ng Lap Seng, who was previously tied to a Clinton-era campaign finance probe, is being held without bail on charges filed in Manhattan federal court that he lied to U.S. customs officials about the purpose of the cash he brought into the country over a two-year period.

In a criminal complaint made public on Monday, an FBI agent recounted serving a subpoena on Ng in July 2014 in connection with an “unrelated investigation,” which a prosecutor in court later said involved a probe based outside of Manhattan.

That subpoena, which the complaint said Ng did not respond to, stemmed from a probe in Nevada involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which prohibits bribing foreign officials, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the case.

The target of that investigation was unclear. But Ng’s name has repeatedly surfaced in a private lawsuit against billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp that the casino operator has said it believed prompted an FCPA investigation.

Kevin Tung, Ng’s lawyer, said on Thursday he did not know what the subpoena said and was still gathering information. The U.S. Justice Department declined comment. Las Vegas Sands in a statement said it is cooperating with the investigation.

Ng, 68, heads Macau-based Sun Kian Yip Group, and has made much of what U.S. prosecutors called his $1.8 billion fortune on lavish developments in the former Portuguese colony.

His properties include the Fortuna casino and residential complex Windsor Arch, which overlooks Macau’s race course and the Cotai Strip.

Ng also sits on the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an adviser to the government.

He and his assistant Jeff Yin were arrested on Saturday for allegedly falsely claiming $4.5 million in cash they brought into the United States from China between 2013 to 2015 was meant to buy art, antiques or real estate, or be used for gambling.

At a hearing on Saturday, U.S. prosecutor Daniel Richenthal said Yin told authorities after his arrest that the money was used to pay people “to engage in unlawful activities,” according to a transcript.

Yin’s lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, disputed that account, and Tung in an interview said the case was a “misunderstanding.”

Ng’s name previously surfaced in U.S. investigations into how foreign money might have been funneled into the Democratic National Committee prior to the 1996 elections, when it was working to re-elect President Bill Clinton.

A 1998 U.S. Senate report said that Ng collaborated with Little Rock, Arkansas restaurateur Charlie Tries to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in foreign funds to the DNA.

Tries later pleaded guilty. Nag, who prosecutors say stopped coming to the United States for five years amid that probe, was never charged.

The 2014 subpoena cited in the complaint came after Nag’s name first surfaced in a lawsuit filed in 2010 against Las Vegas Sands by the former CEO of Adel son’s Macau casinos, Steven Jacobs.

Macau is the only legal casino hub in China, and Sands China Ltd, a publicly traded unit of Las Vegas Sands, is one of six licensed casino operators in the southern Chinese territory.

Las Vegas Sands has said it believes that FCPA investigations by the Justice Department and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission were prompted by Jacobs’ lawsuit.

Jacobs contended he was fired after resisting Adelson’s demands that Las Vegas Sands rehire a lawyer, Leone Elves, who was also a Macau legislator and who allegedly told the company Chinese officials had offered to resolve some issues facing it for a $300 million payment.

Nag allegedly was Elves’ contact with the officials, acting as what a lawyer for Jacobs described in a court hearing in May as a “courier or messenger.”

No evidence exists the payment was ever made, and the company denies wrongdoing. Testifying in May, Adel son said he did not know Nag and had never sent any messages to him or heard of his name until Jacobs’ lawsuit.

Lawyers for Jacobs did not respond to requests for comment.—Reuters

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.