International casino and resort operator Las Vegas Sands has reportedly agreed to pay a $2 million fine to the Nevada Gaming Control Board after the regulator filed a complaint alleging gaming licence violations.
According to a statement from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the complaint surrounds a probe launched by the Securities And Exchange Commission that allegedly found Las Vegas Sands and The Venetian Las Vegas property had kept inaccurate books and records for money they paid a consultant in Asia. The operator settled this case last month without admitting or denying any wrongdoing by consenting to a fine of $9 million while additionally agreeing to retain an independent consultant for two years.
The Securities And Exchange Commission investigation ascertained that Las Vegas Sands had allegedly transferred $6 million to a consultant referred to as a “beard” for the purchase of a team to play in the Chinese Basketball Association. This league does not permit gaming companies to own teams and the casino operator was also reportedly found to have conveyed an additional $8 million via the consultant to cover the costs of operating the franchise without any documentation of these costs.
The investigation moreover determined that Las Vegas Sands had purportedly utilized the same “beard” and improperly spent around $43 million in order to purchase a Beijing building from a Chinese state-owned entity ostensibly in order to develop a business center for American companies.
“Despite concerns by some employees that the real estate purchase was solely for political purposes, approximately $43 million in payments were made to the consultant without research, analysis or proper approval by any Las Vegas Sands employee authorized to approve the amounts paid,” read a statement the from Securities And Exchange Commission.
Finally, the Securities And Exchange Commission investigation found that Las Vegas Sands had allegedly “failed to prevent employees from circumventing policies and procedures for purchases, reimbursements to outside counsel and comps to customers”.
For its part, the Nevada Gaming Control Board declared that its settlement with Las Vegas Sands, which must now be approved at its May 19 meeting, contains a provision in which the operator and its casino “neither admit nor deny the allegations set forth in the complaint”.