Ex-Sands exec Weidner details deal making in China

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Associated Press

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 11 at 6:03 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — During a second stint on the witness stand Thursday, the former president of casino giant Las Vegas Sands detailed how the company gained its foothold in China.

William Weidner is one of the star witnesses in a breach of contract case brought by Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen.

Suen says he helped Sands win a gambling license in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau.

Sands says it won entry to Macau on its own merits.

During his first day of testimony, Weidner took a few shots at Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, who was his boss for 14 years.

On Thursday, the former Sands president detailed the pains the company took to get to know Chinese officials and learn about the Chinese regulatory system.

He suggested Suen played a minor role in the process.

Suen says he worked behind the scenes, setting up meetings and giving advice, to help Sands make connections in China.

The claims that during one of the meetings he set up, Adelson used his influence over Republican members of Congress to reassure Chinese officials that a nonbinding resolution denouncing Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics would be killed.

Suen says Adelson called former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and expressed concerns about the resolution. DeLay told Adelson it would never reach the floor, and Adelson relayed that information.

On Thursday, Weidner conceded he boasted to Chinese officials at the time that Sands' role in the saga of the resolution.

"We did have something to do with the bill; we found out what they couldn't find out," he said. "Did I want credit for it? Absolutely"

During his testimony last week, Adelson dismissed the notion that he might have used his pull to influence Congress.

"I think it's ridiculous that a kid from the slums, me, could help China, the largest country in the world, get the Olympics," he said.

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Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier

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