Las Vegas Sands pays $7 million to end
U.S. criminal bribery case
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[January 20, 2017]
By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) - Las Vegas Sands Corp agreed to
pay a $6.96 million criminal penalty to end a U.S. Department of Justice
probe into whether it violated a federal anti-bribery law by making
payments to a consultant to help it do business in China and Macau.
The casino operator run by billionaire Sheldon Adelson on Thursday also
entered a non-prosecution agreement, in which it admitted that
executives knowingly failed to set up accounting controls to ensure that
the payments were legitimate, and were properly recorded in its books
From 2006 to 2009, Las Vegas Sands transferred about $60 million to the
consultant to promote its business and brands, and paid him about $5.8
million without any "discernable legitimate business purpose," according
to settlement papers.
The resolution of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case follows Las
Vegas Sands' related $9 million civil settlement last year with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission over its dealings with the
Investigators said the consultant was used in part to conceal the
company's effort to buy a team in the Chinese Basketball Association,
which barred gaming companies from ownership, and part of a Beijing
building despite a casino gambling ban there.
Thursday's fine is 25 percent below the minimum recommended under
federal guidelines, in part reflecting Las Vegas Sands' cooperation and
"extensive" remedial measures, including revamped compliance controls,
the Justice Department said.
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"The company is pleased that its cooperation and long-term
commitment to compliance were recognized in reaching this
resolution. We are equally pleased that all inquiries related to
these issues have now been completely resolved," Las Vegas Sands
spokesman Ron Reese said in an email to Reuters.
Adelson, 83, was not accused of wrongdoing. He is worth $31 billion,
according to Forbes magazine.
Las Vegas Sands' properties include the Venetian and the Palazzo in
Las Vegas, the Venetian in Macau, and the Marina Bay Sands in
Singapore, among others.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler,
Lisa Shumaker and Gopakumar Warrier)
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