Las Vegas Sands Corp. (Sands) is finding its way out of allegations brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it had poor accounting controls on its Chinese operations from 2006 to 2011. The casino giant, which owns the Venetian and Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip, will pay a $9 million fine to the SEC.
The allegations against Sands, which owns properties in Macau and Singapore, focus primarily on potential unlawful behavior regarding the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for companies to attempt to influence foreign officials with bribes. The allegations center around Sands’ sponsorship of a Chinese basketball team, plans for a business center in Beijing, and a ferry deal in Macau.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the SEC said Sands transferred more than $622 million to a consultant in China without the required documents or authorization.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. has neither denied nor admitted the allegations, according the Yahoo!, but in 2012 it conceded it may have violated the bookkeeping and controls provision of the Act. Sands is currently generating most of its revenue from the four casinos and variety of hotels it operates in Macau.
The Justice Department is also investigating whether the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in relation to bribery allegations brought forward by former executive Steve Jacobs in 2010.
“Not one of the Jacobs’ allegations was the basis for those [SEC] findings,” Sands officials said in a statement.
Jacobs’ lawsuit, which was filed as a wrongful termination suit after he claimed his firing was a direct result of trying to prevent unlawful business practices, has yet to go to trial.
Sheldon Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Sands, says the settlement is a small price to pay to have the matter resolved.
“We are committed to having a world-class compliance program that builds on the strong policies we already have in place. While we started corrective action on this particular matter prior to the initiation of the government investigations, we understand that running an industry-leading compliance operation takes time, resources and the full support of senior management – I’m proud to say our company has exactly that,” Adelson said in a statement.
He continued, “We will build on this experience, which has reemphasized to our 50,000 team members worldwide the same values I have made the foundation of my seven decades in business – integrity and reputation matter.”
(Photo credit: East Coast Gambler, Creative Commons.)
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