The Personal Data Protection Office (GPDP) Monday slammed the Venetian Macau for transferring data to the United States for its “own interests”, fining the gaming operator 40,000 patacas.
The amount consists of two fines of 20,000 patacas each.
The bureau said in a statement that investigations into whether the Venetian had violated Macau’s Personal Data Protection Law began in July last year.
The statement did not mention the findings of the investigation but gave the code number of the case which is downloadable from the bureau’s website in Chinese, English and Portuguese without revealing the name of the company. It referred to the Venetian Macau as “Company A” and its mother company in the US as “Company B”.
According to the document, the Venetian has been fined a total of 40,000 patacas for transferring the data to the US without seeking the bureau’s authorisation.
The company’s spokeswoman Melina Leong Sio Mok told Bloomberg last year that the probe was related to the high-profile case of Steve Jacobs, the former Sands China CEO who is suing the company for unfair dismissal, during which a large amount of data related to his case was reportedly transferred from Macau to the US.
The document refers to Jacobs as “former CEO X”.
According to the GPDP document, the Venetian claimed that it transferred data to the US to prepare for a possible lawsuit to be initiated by Jacobs against the company and also to prepare to sue Jacobs for alleged theft of confidential information and violation of professional secrecy.
The document points out that the data was transferred at a time when Jacobs had not yet initiated any lawsuits and that even if Jacobs had filed a lawsuit in the US against the Venetian, the data should be given to a judicial authority and not to Sands China’s mother company in the US.
“No one would expect [the Venetian Macau], being a locally registered company, to take legal action in a US court after finding out its former CEO’s suspected of theft and secrecy violation,” the document said, adding that without evidence showing that a local lawsuit was infeasible, the intervention of a foreign court in a suspected violation that took place in Macau “lacked a reasonable basis.”
The document went on to say that the data that was transferred to US was unselected or unfiltered, which included data of third parties who have nothing to do with the US lawsuit.
“As these data … were provided by [the Venetian) without letting the third parties involved know …it shows that [the company] was only trying to achieve and maintain its own interests,” the document said.
The bureau recently fined Wynn Macau 20,000 patacas for transferring data to the US following legal proceedings between Wynn Macau’s head office and one of its shareholders. Media reports show that Japanese pachinko tycoon Kazuo Okada is suing Wynn in Nevada.
Wynn Macau provided personal data of a number of individuals, including officials of an unidentified country who had contacts with the shareholder and stayed at Wynn Macau as well as those who travelled with the officials and their relationship to the company officials.
An informed source told The Macau Post Daily last night that the Venetian Macau, which holds the US company’s local casino sub-concession, did not appeal the bureau’s ruling. Yesterday’s GPDP statement said that the total fine of 40,000 patacas had already been paid.
A spokesperson for the Venetian Macau told The Macau Post Daily last night that the company had “no comment” on the bureau’s statement.(macaunews)