Vegas casino pays $9M CMP for FCPA violations
The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced the acceptance of an Offer of Settlement submitted by Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) in response to a cease-and-desist order issued by the SEC. LVS agreed to pay a $9 million penalty to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by failing to properly authorize or document millions of dollars in payments to a consultant facilitating business activities in China and Macao. An SEC investigation found that LVS kept inaccurate books and records and frequently lacked supporting documentation or proper approvals for more than $62 million in payments to a consultant in Asia. The consultant acted as an intermediary to obscure the company’s role in certain business transactions such as the purchases of a basketball team and a building in China, where casino gambling isn’t permitted. At one point, LVS could not account for more than $700,000 transferred to the consultant for team expenses, yet continued to transfer millions of dollars to him. A portion of the payments were improperly recorded in company books and records, such as money supposedly spent on artwork for the building when none was actually purchased.