Las Vegas Sands pays $7 mln to end U.S. criminal bribery case

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By Jonathan Stempel

<span class="articleLocation”>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 and records.

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 consultant.

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.

Las Vegas Sands did not immediately respond to requests for
comment. Following last year’s settlement, Adelson said his
company was committed to having a “world class” compliance
program.

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.



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