MGM Resorts told the Review-Journal that nothing going on in Egypt would impact the company’s plans in that country for New Giza, a resort for the affluent which will be sitting on a lovely bit of land purchased with MGM Resort’s partner Mahmoud el-Gammal. Mahmoud el-Gammal is the father in law of former President Mubarak’s son, Gammal Mubarak.
Now, the land for New Giza has turned up on a spread sheet of potential illicit Mubarak assets that is being created and distributed by some of the protesters from Tahir Square including the well known Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey. The spreadsheet includes New Giza and asks how “Mahmoud ElGammal ..suddenly bought the land for building the compound of New Giza.” I wonder if MGM Resorts knows the answer? This should be interesting.
Another MGM Resorts partner Dubai World isn’t really a company in the traditional sense. It is an outgrowth of the ruling family of Dubai who chose to take the emirate’s wealth (rather than let the people decide how to use it) and speculated on a high risk casino project in Vegas: CityCenter. Today’s New York Times has a good reminder of how business works for a company in Dubai via a look at Emirates Air whose head:
“Sheik Ahmed plays a role in almost every aspect of air travel into and out of Dubai. Indeed, he is known as ‘Mr. Aviation.’ He is the chairman of FlyDubai, the city-state’s budget airline, and of Dnata, the airport’s ground handling company. He is also the president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, which oversees the industry. And he happens to be the uncle of Dubai’s current ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.”
The corruption is just sitting there on the surface, but it is ‘legal’ when a family rules a nation. The ruling family’s Dubai World in addition to CityCenter has also made investments in Vegas nightlife company Light Group and Cirque.
It is sad that Las Vegas put so much effort into ending the ability of criminals (and, mob families) to earn and/or launder illicit gains here, and now we have become the business partner of choice for corrupt authoritarian rulers from the Gulf to North Africa to China.