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The Macau Metro Monitor, July 17, 2012


Non-performing loans surged in the city of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province in June 2012 to 2.69% of overall loans, up from 1.33% at the beginning of 2012.  Wenzhou was named a pilot zone in March to test a series of financial reforms aimed at ending reliance on shadow banking.  Bad loans has reached 18.1 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion).  In June 2011, the bad loan ratio was 0.37%, one of the nation's lowest.  Since then, the rate has been increasing as growth slows in the city.


According to internal documents obtained by reporters working for the University of California's Investigative Reporting Programme, as part of an ongoin collaboration with ProPublica and PBS, there was a September 2009 email from Leonel Alves to Steve Jacobs, where the lawyer (Alves) says the unnamed high-ranking person claimed he could help Sands China to gain government authorisation to sell units at its Four Seasons luxury apartment hotel.  The deal was also to include a settlement for the on-going litigation process between Sands and Taiwanese Asian American Entertainment Corporation Ltd, led by businessman Marshall Hao.  Another email dated December 2009, shows that in return, the unnamed person requested US$300 million (MOP2.4 billion).

The alleged emails also show that Sheldon Adelson instructed Jacobs to pay about US$700,000 in legal fees to Alves, a move opposed by the company’s general counsel and an outside law firm, who warned that the arrangement could potentially violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as Alves was (and still is) a Macau legislator, and a member of the Executive Council, an advisory body to the Macau government.  He is also a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

In an interview with the Portuguese channel of Radio Macau aired over the weekend, Mr Alves said the person who approached him in Beijing was not a high-ranking Beijing official, but a high-profile Macau developer.  Alves confirmed the US$300 million request, and added that Mr Jacobs ordered him to continue negotiating regarding the Four Seasons deal only.  He said during the interview that Jacobs was willing to pay up to US$500,000 to the Macau developer for “consultancy services” regarding the Four Seasons serviced apartments.  According to Alves, such “consultancy services” would have meant assisting to publicly clarify the concept surrounding integrated resorts and apartment hotels.  However, the middleman refused the offer and the negotiations ended there, according to Alves, who claims all negotiations were legal.


The Venetian Macao was hit last night by a bomb scare.  The presence of a suspected bomb at the hotel-casino’s premises led the police to evacuate and seal off part of the property’s west lobby and car park, although the casino remained operational.  The suspicious box contained two small megaphones.